Eid & Community Event: A Tribute to MP Jo Cox
On the 8th of July 2016 the IVA attended an event that was described as an ‘Eid & Community Event’ which took place at the Ramgarhia Sikh Sports Centre in Leeds, West Yorkshire. We had been contacted a week earlier by a representative of the Leeds Refugee Forum and asked if we could help by bringing some food to the event and helping to spread the word about the event. We were also told that there was going to be a tribute to the late MP Jo Cox.
Jo Cox was a mother of two young children and was married to their father ‘Brendan’. By all accounts Jo Cox was a compassionate campaigner against racism in the borough of Batley & Spen, a small town in West Yorkshire where she had stood as an Member of Parliament since May 2015. While Batley and surrounding areas has a thriving population Muslim’s there is also a strong presence of British Nazi organisations, such as the EDL (English Defense League), Britain First and the BMP (British National Party).
Given Jo’s stance against racism and her vulnerability as a representing female of a Town marked by fascism, we ask where on earth were security services? Given all the billions of pounds of British Taxpayers money poured into national security, and anti-terror organisations why wasn’t Jo deemed a ‘high risk’ political target? Even Male UKIP MP Hilary Benn nearly always has another person at his side when working with the public, in a City where racism (right wing parties and support for them) is proportionally much less that in Batley and surrounding areas.
“Death to traitors, freedom for Britain“ answered the person who shot and butchered the MP in cold blood. Was Jo’s murderer present at the racist thugs rally seen on the following youtube clip, was it one of the repercussions that he warns about?
We know too well that racism is a problem within the police force, especially in the surrounding areas of Batley. Sources have told us that the police are affiliated with right wing groups in the area (would it be any surprise?). Apparently last year some group such as EDL was granted permission to have one of its anti-islam/immigration protests outside a police station in one of the surrounding towns. We ask to what extent was this lack of security offered to Jo by the police and her subsequent murder a product of the pally relationship between various members of the police force and extreme right wing groups?
Maybe this is a question we could have put forward to the police since they had arranged a tribute for Jo at the Eid & Community Event which they had funded. Unfortunately the event was promoted as an Eid & Community Event, with food, dancing and activities for kids, opposed to a police recruitment operation with various police talks. “How many people are listening?” one police representative asked in frustration. One cannot expect silence when you’ve invited parents and children from diverse ethnic backgrounds to party.
The music, dancing, facepainting was fantastic though. It’s a shame we were brought in at the last minute with no funding, otherwise we could have provided sufficient food. We didn’t know that numbers would exceed 300 so we had to be scrupulous with servings as we were the only ones providing vegetarian (vegan) food. There were only one or two others providing food, so the food ran out pretty fast, and sadly most of the pasta mushroom slop provided by police was left. Nevertheless, we imagine that Jo would have been happy to know that vegetarian (vegan) food was served at her tribute since that was one of the things she would do on her boat.
Maybe if more people ate vegetarian (vegan) food they would not be so charged up with hatred and aggression, and all the other negative constituents in meat, which itself is inherently violent.
What Jo would have wanted is “…that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion – it is poisonous…. Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy and a zest for life…” (Brendan Cox). In order to attain a nonviolent world we must follow through with Jo’s cruelty free vegetarian (vegan) food, since such food is a necessary condition of a nonviolent world and teaching respect from an early age, even for the smallest of creatures would surely help wipe violence off the face of the earth.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”