Justice is what love looks like in public
Brian Quail is a 79-year-old retired Latin teacher. He is currently remanded in custody after being arrested for peacefully protesting against Trident.
He is set to remain incarcerated until his trial on 03/08/2017. Last year he was found not guilty of breach of the peace at Dumbarton Sheriff Court. On that occasion he defended himself. This is an excerpt from his magnificent closing speech.
Let me finish on a personal note. Several years ago I had heart surgery – a double by-pass.
This was at the time when Trident warheads were first being sent up to Scotland from Burghfield in Berkshire.
The good folk of Faslane Peace Camp, John Ainslie the administrator of SCND, and I used to regularly follow these convoys and hold them up whenever we could safely do so.
I had noticed that every time I saw them and heard the particular roar of the Foden carriers, I would get intense chest pains.
This got worse and worse until finally, things came to a head on one occasion when we stopped the convoy at the roundabout up from the North Gate of Faslane. The lead vehicle was stopped and I ran up to support the action. The pains grew more and more intense. I collapsed on the road in agony. People crowded round and someone said.
We’ll need to take him to the hospital.
No leave me here.
The pains were unbearable, like tiger’s claws in my chest. I thought;
This is it. I am dying. Why am I dying here, on the road beside a vehicle carrying nuclear bombs?
I looked up at a patch of blue in the sky, and it reminded me of my youngest daughter Catherine, who has particularly lovely blue eyes.
Then I thought, No, it’s not just the blue eyes of my children, but the green eyes, and the brown eyes, and the grey eyes of all the children of the world – and their mothers and fathers too – that are the target of our bombs. Our fellow human beings, our brothers and sisters, whom we are prepared to burn and blast.
And I knew the answer to my question Why here. It is love that drives me. Love is not an emotional or sentimental feeling. As Dostoyevsky said,
active love is a harsh and fearful thing.
So I am not a peace protestor, I am – though I don’t look it – a lover.
The American philosopher, Dr Cornel West said,
Justice is what love looks like in public.
This is a court of Justice, and you, my honour, administer Justice, and if Justice is what love looks like in public, then you and I should share the same goal.
De minimis non curat lex – the law does not concern itself with trifles. This legal maxim is being stretched to its ultimate absurdity today. I am on trial because I peacefully and nonviolently held up a convoy. The court simply ignores the fact that the convoy was carrying the most powerful machine in the world for the mass killing of human beings, Trident. A blind eye is turned on the Hydrogen bombs in the convoy, to the real and present illegal weapons of mass destruction.
Christopher Weeramantry, Vice-President of the International Court of Justice from 1991 to 2000 described nuclear weapons as “the ultimate Evil”.
Will your honour today in this court in Dumbarton, rule that the ultimate evil is legal?
I implore your honour to remember the wise words of Lord Kames in Knight v Wedderburn in 1778, I quoted earlier,
we sit here to enforce right, not to enforce wrong.
Please stop defending Trident against me, and defend me – and humanity – against Trident.
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