Update: Jo was due to report on the 80% rise in Islamophobic attacks, mostly against women. I believe this attack was planned and she was targeted by the far right specifically.
As the nation waited with bated breath to hear whether Jo Cox MP would survive the gun and knife attack she was subjected to by right wing terrorist Thomas Mair, journalists busied themselves with the sort of apologism we have come to expect from them. Despite numerous eyewitness reports from the scene of the crime confirming the attacker had shouted ‘Britain First’, right wing and neoliberal quarters of the British press refused to acknowledge the white supremacist fascism they personally enabled in the backlash to the murder of Lee Rigby.
In the 3 years since he was brutally murdered, hundreds if not thousands of innocent Muslims, mainly women, children and the elderly have been targeted by right wing extremists the length and breadth of our sinking island. Tell Mama has provided us with reports every step of the way, they have advocated on behalf of many victims, a service that is valued and necessary given that people of colour have a general mistrust of the police, an institution not exactly lauded for its handling of hate crimes against non whites. I knew the police would refuse me support when I reported the many incidents of racist abuse and threats to kill me, but I did it anyway for the paper trail, and to prove to everyone I was doing everything in my power to keep safe. When the police blocked me on Twitter and sent me an informal caution for my political beliefs I knew then the impact this inaction would have on wider society.
They, the media and people with all the power and control would have us believe I am a nothing and a nobody therefore it does not matter that my concerns were not taken seriously. However it gave the people making threats against me the green light to continue. They also targeted others.
Injustice has a domino effect. First they come for one and if there is no resistance they come back for the others. When Muhsin Ahmed lost his life to white supremacist terrorism, some parts of the UK did feel the pain and suffering his family were condemned to endure. I felt it, Tell Mama felt it. It quickly dissipated though, because Muhsin Ahmed was also considered a nothing, a nobody, by the majority of Britons who either didn’t know, or just didn’t care. More casualties of right wing terrorism followed, the severity of attacks escalated, the growing fear in minority communities went largely ignored. Nahid Almanea was murdered by a right wing terrorist simply for wearing Islamic dress, but watch the opponents of hjiab shrug off the notion that hate filled rhetoric leads to actual violence against minorities on the ground. So they hurt more people, then some more until yesterday when a ‘lone wolf’ assassinated a person no one could ignore; a serving British MP, a white woman, a treasured citizen in British society.
He yelled ‘Britain First’ as he launched a savage attack against Jo, a known advocate for community cohesiveness. Britain First, the white supremacist terrorist militia immediately denied any involvement in the attack, despite the fact they were specifically named and had also just conducted a knife training workshop for their terrorist members. Whether or not Mair was personally known to them (putting) Britain First is a core objective for hateful little British Nazis. He was at the very least influenced by this selfish notion, if not by the organisation then the headlines feeding the hate train, and manifestos like this, from the supposedly non racist Tory party.
The murder of Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley and Spen should strike fear in all our hearts. The right wing terrorists have moved on to suffocating the moderates on ‘their own side’. White supremacists will target other white people, those they consider race traitors, because they are the people best placed to protect minorities. It’s supposed to serve as a warning to others. It only happened because the warning signs were not heeded and the fascist threat was allowed to flourish.
Brexit was not the cause of the attack on Jo Cox, it was merely a catalyst. The Thames boat debacle only added to the confusion. Brexit is the logical conclusion to years of kowtowing to the fascist right, when politicians allegedly left of centre were suddenly espousing right wing ideas. Racism never goes away, it is only controlled or allowed to thrive unchallenged. Journalists, on ‘The Left’ all the way to the unapologetic sadistic right are the only ones with the power to change discourse. They have the power to create a just and equal society instead they purposefully harness the hate bubbling under the surface and legitimise it. Racial slurs have no place in print. Fascist free speech does not trump the right to life for anyone deemed ‘other’. Denial of cause and effect leads only to more violence, more horror. Denial will mean more deaths.