Tributes and condolences have been pouring out across the media today, as news came that Clarence Clemons, the well-known
saxophonist who played for Bruce Springsteen, as well as Brian Haw, the peace campaigner who demonstrated against the Iraq War for over ten years, both died today
It’s sad to hear of anyones death, but its even more poignant today, Father’s Day, to lose two men that have touched many people and stood up proudly for what they believe in.
Clarence Clemons was a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, and was known as the Big Man because of his height. Springsteen released a statement after his death was announced, saying losing Clemons as a friend and a band mate was “immeasurable”. The statement also said:
“Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him.”
“He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage.”
Clemons had suffered a stroke on the 12th June, and hadn’t recovered since. His last public appearance was on the American Idol Finale, in May, where he performed alongside Lady Gaga with The Edge of Glory. He also featured on the video which can be seen here.
Brian Haw touched people’s hearts in a different, but equally important way. Known as the Man in the Hat, Haw began camping in Parliament Square in 2001 in protest against UK and US foreign policy, a campaign that gained press attention after the UK and US’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. He died in Germany today after a long fight with lung cancer.
The authorities relentlessly harassed Haw to leave Parliament square, which campaigners say contributed to his ill-health. A statement from his campaign representatives read:
“Brian showed great determination and courage during the many long hard years he led his Peace Campaign in Parliament Square, during which it is well documented that he was relentlessly persecuted by the authorities which eventually took its toll on his health.
“Brian showed the same courage and determination in his battle with cancer. He was keenly aware of and deeply concerned that so many civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine did not have access to the same treatments that were made available to him.”
The Stop the War Coalition praised Brian Haw, saying, “Brian was a fantastic inspiration to us all, a stalwart of the peace camp.”
I hope that the work of both of these great men is remembered, particularly with the great sacrifice Brian Haw gave to stand up for human rights.