British MP and Advocate for Syria and Palestine Dies
BY: Tamara Wong Azaiez/ Contributing Writer
The world is in shock at today’s passing of British Labour MP Jo Cox. Cox had just come out of a consistency meeting when a man appeared out of nowhere, stabbed her and then shot her. Local witnesses also noted that he yelled “Britain First!” when shooting her. “Britain First” is a reference to a radical British group that is radically anti-Muslim and anti-immigration, and has threatened political leaders in the past.
Britain First was founded five years ago, and has acquired a paramilitary style image, with countryside training camps for members and pledges to take “direct action” against “global Islamic jihad.” They also pledge to put “Britain First,” adopting slogans against radical Islam, grouping all aspects of the religion together. Although it is not clear yet what the motive of the attacker was, it is clear that someone did not appreciate Cox’s dedication to humanitarian causes.
Cox had ties with Syrian refugees, which is a possible reason for her victimization. She was a constant advocate for Britain to do more to help the victims of Syria’s civil war. She also set up a parliamentary group on Syria and staged Commons debates on the plight of the refugees. She argued forcefully that the UK Government should be doing more, both to help the victims and use its influence abroad to bring an end to the Syrian conflict. It is likely that her attacker was against the progression of the rights of Syrian refugees and Muslim immigrants.
The MP was also an advocate for Palestinian rights and statehood. During her short-lived career in Parliament, she advocated on behalf of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, as well. When a proposed BDS ban was brought to Parliament, Cox said, “I believe that this is a gross attack on democratic freedoms. It is our right to boycott unethical companies. It should also be the right of local councils and public bodies that we have elected to make their own decisions, free of government control.”
Although Cox was from the UK, her activism and dedication to Syrians and Palestinians can be appreciated all over the world. She will be missed as a leader who fearlessly gave a voice to those who often go unheard.