Martyrs and Demons

Rixon Stewart — June 19, 2016

Mourners leave candles in memory of murdered Labour Party MP Jo Cox, who was shot dead in Birstall, during a vigil at Parliament Square in London, Britain June 17, 2016.   REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Mourners leave candles in memory of murdered Labour Party MP Jo Cox, who was shot dead in Birstall, during a vigil at Parliament Square in London, Britain June 17, 2016. Click to enlarge

Murdered Member of Parliament Jo Cox made a career out of championing the downtrodden. One might even call her a professional do-gooder and she did very well out of it too.
A well appointed houseboat in a prime position on the Thames. Another home in her constituency, a jet setting lifestyle flying from one crisis conference to the next; Jo Cox led a life that many would be envious off. She was also widely admired and now that she’s dead mourners have left her houseboat on the Thames covered in flowers.
However, before we get carried away by grief, a little perspective is in order.
Francis Carr-Begbie has already written a probing analysis of Cox’s legacy but I want to focus on one specific aspect. In particular I want to look at an article she wrote with Conservative Party MP Andrew Mitchell for The Guardian last October.
I’m not going to repost the entire article but there are key elements that need to be highlighted. Because after lamenting the ongoing crisis in Syria and lambasting the British government’s response, the authors pointedly omit to mention that Britain’s allies helped create the crisis in the first place.
This is a critical omission. Because if you want to deal with any ongoing problem you have to address it at its source. Without doing so a solution is unlikely and Jo Cox’s proposals only deal with the symptoms, not the actual cause of the crisis.
As such they would likely exacerbate the problem rather than solve it.
Together with humanitarian aid and diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis, Jo Cox and her co-author also proposed:
Third, on the military front. Some may think that a military component has no place in an ethical response to Syria. We completely disagree. It is not ethical to wish away the barrel bombs from the Syrian government when you have the capacity to stop them. The deaths and fear generated by these indiscriminate air attacks are the main drivers of the refugee crisis in Europe. Nor is it ethical to watch when villages are overrun by Isis fighters who make sex slaves of children and slaughter their fellow Muslims, when we have the capability to hold them back.
What is critical in advancing any military component is that the protection of civilians must be at the centre of the mission. This objective becomes ever more imperative in the light of Russia’s bombing in recent days. We need a military component that protects civilians as a necessary prerequisite to any future UN or internationally provided safe havens. The creation of safe havens inside Syria would eventually offer sanctuary from both the actions of Assad and Isis, as we cannot focus on Isis without an equal focus on Assad…. (British forces could help achieve an ethical solution in Syria, The Guardian Oct 11, 2015)
In other words Jo Cox was proposing direct Western military intervention in Syria. Although, of course, it would be done under the pretext of humanitarian concerns not regime change. Although that might be the end result of creating the humanitarian “safe havens” she proposes.
After all Iraq and Afghanistan were invaded on the basis of similar fine sounding pretexts. In fact most recent Western military “interventions” have initially been sold to the public on the basis of humanitarian concerns. Jo Cox is arguing for intervention on a similar basis in Syria.
Crucially she does so without addressing the root cause of the problem.
Not once does she call upon Cameron to put pressure on his allies in Turkey and the Gulf states to withhold the support they are known to be giving Sunni extremists. This is the root cause of the problem in Syria and Iraq and yet Jo Cox pointedly fails to even mention it.
Why? Didn’t she know? Or was she more interested in playing the part of a professional do-gooder than actually addressing the root cause of the problem?
President Assad. Click to enlarge

Jo Cox apportioned equal blame to ISIS and President Assad, thereby providing grounds for ‘regime change’. Click to enlarge

Of course this doesn’t justify her murder. That goes without saying but her legacy needs to be seen in perspective.
Finally, in the article Cox implies blame for the crisis in Syria lies equally with ISIS and President Assad:
“…we cannot focus on Isis without an equal focus on Assad,”
At the time the demonising of President Assad was being used to justify arguments for regime change in Syria. I don’t know if that was her intention but in the article Jo Cox was indirectly buttressing those arguments.

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