Updated 17th of June
“But as it is said, Mr.speaker, sometimes all it takes for evil to triumph is for a good man to do nothing”
an extract from Jo Cox’s concluding remarks in her speech during a session at the House of Commons on 3rd of May 2016. (Video below)
In critical moments and throughout the Syrian struggle for dignity; very few principled European politicians dared to challenge the European status quo and the foreign policy of sidelining vis-a-vis Syria. Jo Cox, whom we lost on the 16th of June, was one of the that principled minority who led unforgettable efforts, swimming against all the currents politically and publicly, to ease the sufferings of Syria’s civilians.
Cox have worked with and supported many lobbying groups calling for the protection of Syria’s civilians. Unlike the rest; she was courageous enough to refute the repeatedly cited argument that the only lesson to remember from Iraq’s failure should be a passive foreign policy when the discussion about Syria heats. Eloquently; she outlined in her essay We must remember that Syria is not Iraq – and build a plan for action that: “The first responsibility for the paucity of UK policy on Syria sits squarely with the Government who have mishandled and misjudged this from the start”.
Consequently Cox was not afraid to call out European and International failures in war ravaged Syria saying that “The international community’s inept response has overseen the first wide scale use of chemical weapons in a generation, the spawning of the cancer that is ISIS and the greatest refugee crisis Europe has seen since the second world war. It has been a masterclass in how not to do foreign policy”. Cox’s visionary and solidarity politics connected the dots for what constitutes a useful intervention in Syria, rather than turning a blind eye to the world largest humanitarian and political tragedy.
Syrians today did not only lose a friend, they lost one of very few allies and it is tragic on many levels. Cox did not only lobby for the protection of civilians, she called for a hospital Europe where some 3000 child from Syria could be given a shelter in the UK following Aleppo assault by the Syrian regime and Russia. Moreover, she called for a systematic investigation of war crimes accusation in the highest level possible within the ranks of the Syrian regime.
In her last speech Cox highlighted the need to clearly and vocally admit the Syrian authorities’ primary responsibility in the massacre of civilians and the need for a no-bombing zone; two facts many high level European politicians and diplomats still very timid to mention in front of media and Syrians, as well as, behind closed doors.
In these tragic moments; I cant but wonder what would be the future of the All Party Parliamentary Group Friends of Syria which was led by Cox and Andrew Mitchell? for this has been always a moral and political concern of her. And would the Labor Party honor her memory by, at least, revisiting its stance on Syria and work for a profound and proactive policy in that regard? It is, indeed, difficult time with difficult questions.
In the meanwhile, many Syrians send their love, support and condescendence to Jo’s husband and her children; may her politics of humanity and solidarity become the norm.