It seems that all over the globe people are forgetting that adage that their parents were forever telling them as children. It’s better to say nothing if what you have to say isn’t nice.
Americans are experiencing it with Donald Trump who has made people believe it is not only acceptable but mandatory to wear their bigotry as a giant rosette, proudly affixed to themselves for all the World to see. Meanwhile here in the UK we have friends, families and communities at each others throats over the referendum due to be held on 23 June over whether the UK should leave or remain a member of the EU.
On both counts it’s hard to escape the inflammatory language from both sides and in both cases that includes factions allegedly on the same side. Turn on the television, open a ‘news’ paper, log in to Facebook or scan your Twitter timeline and you’ll know what I mean. I am right and you are wrong vs. NO, I am right and YOU are wrong.
What has really made me angry however is the murder yesterday of Jo Cox, a Labour member of parliament, by one of her constituents. Currently the media are referring to the murderer as the alleged killer but we all know he did so why beat about the bush?
I’m not actually that angry about the murder. People are murdered every day both in the US and UK, most of us are numb to it now. What particularly incensed me is the way the murder and the murderer has been portrayed. Several eye witnesses stated that after shooting her he stabbed her several times whilst shouting out “Britain First”, a notorious right-wing group who don’t like anyone who isn’t British and white. Jo Cox was in favour of a multi-cultural Britain and campaigned to allow Syrian refugees into the country.
Shortly after the event, everyone was content to label it a politically motivated killing by a right-wing extremist. That was until a right leaning newspaper uncovered the fact that the murderer had some mental health issues in 2010. Suddenly it wasn’t so clear-cut. They spoke to his neighbours, who described him as “quiet, polite and reserved”, suddenly he was a deranged psychopath and his mention of “Britain First” was mere coincidence, it was just rather unfortunate that Jo was the victim, it could have been anyone they said.
Frantic probing on both sides revealed our murderer had links to white supremacy groups going back decades, suddenly the accusations being bandied about were that those looking to make links with the right-wing, racist element were trying to exploit the murder to further their cause, which is to have the UK remain a part of the EU. “No, no,” they cry, “he had mental health problems, why are you looking for something that isn’t there? He was ‘insane’ the fact he was a xenophobic racist has nothing to do with it.”
People are so blinded to their desire to not see something that is quite obvious to anyone willing to put their opinions on whether to remain or leave the EU aside for a split second. They can’t however, so ingrained is the desire to shout down the opposing view and insist that THEY are right they forget the most crucial thing.
On Thursday 16 June 2016 a female member of parliament was arriving to start a surgery, where she meet local constituents to see how she could help them with their problems, after leaving her husband and 2 children at home when she was murdered because she had views that differed from her killer.
Today her 2 young children woke knowing that they would never seen their mother again, meanwhile the media and social media are awash with people still arguing that THEY are right and somebody else is wrong and whilst they may mention Jo Cox in their arguments, it’s highly unlikely most have stopped to acknowledge what happened to her. She is no longer a woman, a politician, a mother, a wife. She’s just a name, a hashtag, an addition to their arsenal of words to win an argument, unaware of what has truly been lost. A life.