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Aamer Anwar by broad daylight - Click for larger image  

Burns was a poet of the common man who championed universal suffrage and the abolition of slavery long before it became fashionable. Inspired by the American and French revolutions with their ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity, Burns stood against the corruption of the gentry, nobility and royalty.

The Victorian upper classes tried to sanitise the radical Burns into a tartan shortbread icon with drunken suppers in the name of culture, but the real Robert Burns wrote about poverty and the injustice of the class system, and wanted to make the world a better place.

His songs and satire still enrich that struggle against oppression and injustice and I believe we owe it to Robert Burns to explain who he really was and what he stood for.

For me, ‘The Tree of Liberty’, written in support of the ideals of the French Revolution provides that explanation.

Aamer Anwar - Human Rights Lawyer

Text © Aamer Anwar

 

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The Tree of Liberty      
     
 

Wi' plenty o' sic trees, I trow,
The warld would live in peace, man;
The sword would help to mak a plough,
The din o' war wad cease, man.
Like brethren in a common cause,
We'd on each other smile, man;
And equal rights and equal laws,
Wad gladden every isle, man.

Wae worth the loon wha wadna eat
Sic halesome dainty cheer, man;
I’d gie my shoon frae aff my feet,
To taste sic fruit, I swear, man.

Robert Burns