2 Brilliant Muhammad Ali Documentaries

It has now been just over 8 weeks since Muhammad Ali passed away, and I still can’t seem to let this fact settle in my heart. Growing up I had 2 people I really admired and looked up to. Ali was one of them, the other was a stand-up comedian called Bill Hicks. Hicks was white, he drank, took drugs, smoked, and died at the age of 32 in 1994 of pancreatic cancer. Ali, on the other hand, was pretty much the opposite of all this. Yet both had a huge cultural and intellectual influence on my life, and still do.

I appreciate that Hicks is relatively unknown outside of the stand-up comedy circuit, but Ali is a global icon. Despite this, I often wonder how well do you know Muhammad Ali? If you think he changed his name to Muhammad Ali from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, or vice versa, then you need some serious Ali education. And this where the following two documentaries come into their own. I Am Ali (2014) covers various aspects of the life of Ali, whilst the HBO documentary Thrilla In Manila analyses the 1975 fight between Ali and bitter rival Joe Frazier, focusing on the verbally bruising rivalry leading up to one of the greatest fights of all time.

I Am Ali

Both documentaries are well worth watching, and below are some of my favourite quotes. Enjoy!


We were in Deer Lake, Pennsylvania, one time and there was a little boy there who looked frail and he wanted to meet Muhammad Ali. I said, “No problem,” and I brought the boy in and his dad. Muhammad looked at the boy and he said, “Why do you have this hot wool hat on?” He said, “it’s so hot out there today.”

He said, “I got leukaemia and I lost all my hair. I’m getting this chemo.” And Ali said, “I’ll tell you what. I’m gonna beat George Foreman and you’re gonna beat leukaemia.” The boy looked at him. He said, “Oh, I hope you’re right, Ali, I hope you’re right.”

I went and I got my camera and I took a picture of the little boy and Ali. And I got the father’s address. I had Ali write on the picture, “I am gonna beat George Foreman and you’re gonna beat cancer. God bless you, Muhammad Ali.”

So about two weeks later I get a call. It said, the boy’s father, he said, “Jimmy’s very sick. He’s in the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. He’s not gonna make it, but the thrill of his life was meeting Muhammad Ali.” I said, “Jeez, I’m sorry to hear it. Is there anything we can do?” “No.”

So that next morning we’re doing roadwork, 4:30 in the morning before the sun is up, when he can run, and I tell him about the boy. He said, “OK, here’s what we’re gonna do. When I get done, my exercise and all, we take a shower, we head down to the hospital.”

So we go down to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, a two-hour ride, and we went in. Here’s the little boy with a white sheet. White kid, no hair, big blue eyes. And he said, “Muhammad, I knew you would come.” And Muhammad reached and he held the little boy. He said, “Remember, I told you that you are gonna beat cancer and I’m gonna beat George Foreman and that’s the way it’s gonna be.” And the little boy said, “No, Muhammad, I’m gonna meet God and I’m gonna tell Him that I know you.”

There wasn’t a word said in the two-hour ride going back. About a week later, the little boy died. The father called me and Ali said he didn’t want to go to the funeral. It was too sad. So I went over to the funeral and in the casket, they had the boy laid out and they had the picture there. “I’m gonna beat George Foreman, you’re gonna beat cancer.”

The boy was gonna go to Heaven and say he was a friend of Muhammad Ali’s to get a better seat or a better place. That’s…that’s a great compliment, isn’t it? – Gene Kilroy, actor, from the documentary I Am Ali (2014)


Back in the days when Muhammad and I was young kids, he would say, “Rudy, I can see it in the stars. God is talking to me.” He would tell me his destiny, how great he would be. He said, “And I want you to be with me. I love you, my brother.” He’s a sweet, sweet, sweet person. God blessed him with having insight to predict the future. “I’m gonna be the world’s greatest boxer. I’m gonna be a great man.” He wanted to become famous to help people. He’s a wonderful, wonderful…[breaks down crying] – Rahman ‘Rudy’ Ali, younger brother of Muhammad Ali, from the documentary I Am Ali (2014)


I can remember feeling very proud of my father and just an overwhelming sense of pride. I guess it’s a euphoric feeling. You know, when I was…From an early age, just anywhere we’d go together, because not just him getting attention, but the way that people would react to him and sometimes they’d be in tears.

And I know my mother hadn’t seen my dad, maybe, I would say, three or four years after the marriage. You know, he would come around and three years might have gone by where she hadn’t seen him and when he came to the house, we lived in the Venice Canals at the time, she was remarried, and she looked at him and she hugged him, then she started to cry and she left the room. And my father looked at me and he says, “Why is she crying?” So I had to go to the room and ask her and she said, “Well, I looked into his eyes and I saw God.”

So, you know, and I said, “Oh! I know what you mean, you know?” He has this twinkle in his eye and he has this spirit within him that’s so profound that people sometimes are moved to just silence when they see him. It just makes you more, I think, cognizant of just the spiritual side of fame and celebrity. Not just famous for being famous, but it makes you wanna know why. Why he was famous, why people love him, the stands that he took, the controversy. Everything that he went through, it’s all part of his story of getting to where he is now. You know, the ups and the downs that all makes him who he is. – Hana Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali, from the documentary I Am Ali (2014)



Narrator: [Joe Frazier is] a man unable to let go of the bitterest and most intense sporting rivalry ever seen. In the space of 4 years in the early 70’s, Ali and Frazier contested a trilogy of epic fights that are landmarks in the history of boxing. Muhammad Ali is renowned around the world, but what the world does not know is that Ali provoked a blood feud with Joe Frazier, for which Frazier believes Ali is now paying the eternal price.

Joe Frazier: Whatever he indulged in, in his lifetime, it comes to show up later on as you get older. I don’t care who you is. Whatever you done when you’re a young man, it comes to bite you in the butt, when you get older. Trust me.

Interviewer: So do you think he’s paying the price for what he did as a young man?

Joe Frazier: And said. And said. That’s right. God marks it down. – from the documentary Thriller In Manila (2008)


I’m just hoping that, you know, somewhere down the line, that he would like, ask the Lord to forgive him, that’s all. All the things we have done and he said. Before he take that last [he gasps], and you do this [closes his eyes], you ask for forgiveness. – Joe Frazier, from the documentary Thriller In Manila (2008)

UNITED STATES OF HATE: MUSLIMS UNDER ATTACK

I saw a rather interesting BBC Three documentary called United States Of Hate: Muslims Under Attack. This one-off one hour documentary, hosted by award-winning director and producer Steph Atkinson, was first shown on the BBC in May 2016. It examines America’s recent upsurge in Islamophobia, with Atkinson meeting Texan anti-Islam groups, law abiding American Muslims, and an extremist Muslim (just to keep the balance).

Atkinson asks how America got here, and if the fears (real and imaginary) between these groups are justified. For example, in Irving, Texas, the city’s growing Muslim community is under fire from right-wing hate groups who seek to marginalise and intimidate them. Atkinson meets two such groups – Bomb Islam and BAIR (Bureau for American Islamic Relations) – two of the most extreme anti-Muslim groups in America, both believing all Muslims are potential terrorists.

Like most anti-Islam hate groups BAIR members are mainly middle aged ex-military white Christian men, with intimidating nicknames such as Big Daddy Infidel. Atkinson tries to figure out why they hate the way they do. At one point, when speaking about one particular BAIR member, Atkinson suggests that his ‘feelings about Muslims seems to be a weird mix of hate and envy.’

Incidentally Irving, Texas is the town where 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing a clock to school that teachers believed was a bomb. This incident alone speaks volumes about the local population.

In a recent interview Atkinson made a curious point about weapons being the main difference between hate groups in the States and those here in Britain:

It’s the big difference between the English Defence League and someone like BAIR. They’ve got guns. And when they’re telling you these extreme things, like the guy that told me he’d rather spend time with cannibals than he would with Muslims, they’re telling them to you and they’ve got an M16 in their hands! It adds a whole new layer of risk to things. – Steph Atkinson

Atkinson also meets Muslims living and working in Texas who speak of their experiences when hate is at an all-time high. One such Muslim, Imam Omar Suleiman, is interviewed extensively as he tries to explain how he feels about the protests outside his own mosque in Texas, as well as the serious attempts he makes trying to de-radicalise Muslims, all on top of the day to day Islamophobia he has to face.

This documentary was the first time I came across Suleiman, but I saw him again at the recent memorial service for the five Dallas police officers shot and killed on duty. He was seated right behind First Lady Michelle Obama.

Dallas Imam Obama

The documentary is well worth a view. Below are some quotes from it, as well as some of my thoughts on all of this craziness…



I found that the most interesting dialogue in the entire documentary was the following short, succinct, and entirely true change:

Steph Atkinson: Where has this come from? How have we got here?

Imam Omar Suleiman: With a very systematic dehumanisation of 1.8 billion people. That’s how we got here. Through media, through the movies, through our reckless politicians. Sadly, it is where we’re at.


At one point Atkinson asks: ‘What I want to know is when does one person’s freedom become another person’s blasphemy?’

He then speaks to Dorrie O’Brien, an avid hater of all things Muslim, in regards to her openly drawing the Prophet Muhammad. When asked if she realises how offensive this could be to Muslims, her cool and calculated response is: ‘I think it is really just too bad if you’re offended.’

This reminded me of a famous Ricky Gervais quote, used liberally by atheists:

Just because you’re offended, doesn’t mean you’re right. – Ricky Gervais

That may be so, but should there not also be a responsibility on those trying to offend to perhaps not incite hatred purely for their own amusement or their own political ideologies?


Another brilliant piece of dialogue comes from Suleiman advising the congregation of his mosque on how to deal with the haters:

Imam Omar Suleiman: When we see people that are yelling and screaming, when we see people that hate our guts, whether they’re holding up signs and telling you to go back home or whether they’re just people that are giving you, you know, nasty stares in public, whatever it may be, it allows us to not hate them, it allows us to actually want good for them, it allows us to be able to go to them and to try to win over their hearts. They’re not in a position where their minds can absorb anything. They’ve been too blocked by the hate.


I recently came across the following movie quote:

When you don’t know someone, they’re more interesting. They can be anything you want them to be. But when you know them, this limits them. – from the movie Sing Street (2016)

This quote seems poignantly related to groups like BAIR and their view of Muslims. Since they do not personally know anyone who is a Muslim, they feel they can make Muslims anything they want them to be, in this case the bad guys, the scapegoats, the source of all that ails them. However, once you know a Muslim personally, then your opinions of them becomes somewhat limited by this real encounter. This is something Suleiman refers to:

Imam Omar Suleiman: There is no doubt in my mind, the more Americans that encounter Muslims at a human level, the more this bigotry is going to disappear, because statistic after statistic has shown that Americans that have actually sat with Muslims and known them on a human level are very unlikely to hold these types of views about Muslims and things of that sort. So it’s a united fight. We have to come together to fight against all forms of violence, and we have to form alliances, like-minded people that want to see a world of peace.

Then we see Atkinson arrange a meeting between Franklin Redmond, an avid BAIR member, and Suleiman, which results in the following stimulating exchange:

Franklin Redmond: Are you willing to acknowledge that there is a problem in the Muslim world, groups like ISIS and ISIL, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram – there’s hundreds of them, there’s hundreds of them. But one thing that’s in common with every single one of them is that they are Islamic, in some way, shape or form. It is an underlying evil to the Islamic faith, characteristic of what I would attribute to people who worship Satan.

Imam Omar Suleiman: Do I believe that there are radical groups that are using the religion and that are doing terrible things in the name of it? Yes. But the greatest victims of these groups are Muslim. You might be surprised to hear this, but I am actually on ISIS’s hit list, all right? I have actually been targeted by them, and at the same time I’m being told by other people that you’re not doing enough to fight Islamic radicalism. I’m like, “Look, I’m actually putting my life on the line.” And when I take my daughter to a mosque, my six-year-old daughter to a mosque, and she sees people holding guns and she comes home and she says, “Baba, why do they want to kill us? Why do they hate us?” I mean, to me, that is extremism. If you knew that the environment that you helped created led someone to actually pull a trigger on one of those Muslim kids, an innocent Muslim, would you be able to sleep at night knowing that you could have possibly fuelled that? That that environment you created could have, could have, led to that Islamophobia which has claimed the lives of innocent people?


In the final scene of the documentary, Suleiman makes a point about being wary of what ISIS are really trying to do:

Steph Atkinson: Omar isn’t prepared for his community to accept responsibility for any terrorist attack. He has his own thoughts on where blame lies.

Imam Omar Suleiman: I would say a group like BAIR would have more to do with a violent incident taking place in the world than I do, because I’m actually trying to stop that cycle. They’re feeding that cycle, they’re feeding that carnage, they’re feeding that nonsense, they’re feeding that clash of civilisations, they’re giving ISIS the world that they want. ISIS wants this world to be Islam versus the West. They’re giving them that world. They’re letting them know that…It’s just like a video game. ISIS is player one and they just needed someone to press and be player two. Islamophobes are creating more Islamic terrorism.


Islamophobes like those in this documentary should be aware of this fact: if you get rid of all Muslims, you do not automatically get rid of all the problems you associate with Muslims. Those problems will still be prevalent in your new utopian non-Islamic society. Issues such as rape, child abuse, benefit fraud, extremism, racism, and other such ills that you lay solely on the shoulders of Islam, these will all still be there once you are Muslim free. Who then do you blame? Where then does your glare of hatred fall? The blacks? The Jews? Foreigners? The Hindus? The Sikhs? The atheists? The LGBT community?


I recently read that certain armed right-wing Christian militias in America, similar to BAIR, dip their bullets in pigs blood. Why? The thinking behind this is that when the Muslamics finally invade, led by Obama probably, the Christians will victoriously shoot the Muslim medieval zealots, and the pigs blood will ensure that they are sent straight to hell. This is a genuine belief amongst some militia members. Even Trump suggestively spoke about this at one of his rallies.

Do these militias think Muslims are like vampires? Some form of the undead that can only be killed by pigs blood? What if the pigs blood doesn’t work? What will you do next? Will you throw garlic naan at us? Sprinkle church holy water on us? All in the hope of watching us melt away whilst screaming ‘Aaah! It burns! it burns!’


Muslims and anti-Muslim hate groups have a common enemy. In my mind our real enemy is atheism. Whilst anti-Islamic hate groups are busy ridding their homelands of mosques, minarets, and Muslims, what they fail to realise is that soon they will be left with a non-spiritual country, an America that is a Godless nation. This is because atheism is fast filling the cracks and divisions that exist between religions and within religions. Whilst you are busy getting rid of us Muslims, the atheists are busy getting rid of you Christians. The younger generation primarily see atheism, not Christianity, as the alternative to Islam.


Surely anti-Islam groups who truly hate ISIS would do some research and find out who ISIS hate, and then take these people as their friends. After all, is not my enemies enemy my friend? Unfortunately for groups like BAIR, ISIS hate most Muslims across the world, especially those in the decadent West. They hate Muslims who are Shia, liberal, progressive, gay, democratic, and the rest. So would it not make sense for an anti-Islam group to befriend these Muslims?

Also, would you not want to have principles that are the complete polar opposite to those of ISIS? ISIS are undemocratic, divisive, racist, and so forth. Shouldn’t you, as a group that declares it’s open hatred and outrage of ISIS, be the total opposite of this? Shouldn’t you be democratic, inclusive, etc, instead of the way you currently are?


Finally, know that the paths of love and hate have only one thing in common: each road is never-ending. You can carry on going. No matter how much you hate, you can always hate some more. Likewise, no matter how much you love, you can always love that wee bit more. This is a point touched upon in the aforementioned interview with Atkinson:

Last year, Donald Trump announced a policy which would require Muslims and refugees to wear badges on their outer garments at all times – something that comes uncomfortably close to the most famous persecution of a group of people in living memory. Steph actually spoke to a ‘very upset’ Jewish journalist who compared the situation to Germany in 1936. ‘He felt there was lots of echoes of the Nazi Party and what happened to Jewish people at the time. And that’s the real fear of it – where does this Islamophobia end?’ Chances are, nowhere good. – from an article by Jess Commons

20 FUNNY-ISH QUOTES

With all the craziness out there I thought it wise to pause briefly to enjoy a few funny-ish quotes. Enjoy!


Here’s to you and here’s to me, and if we ever disagree, here’s to me. – from the movie Rachel Rachel (1968)

Never date a tennis player. Love means nothing to them. – Matt Winning

Maybe Hitler wouldn’t have been so grumpy if people hadn’t left him hanging for high-fives all the time. – Rhys James

I was vegan for a while. I lost 6lb, but most of that was personality. – Pippa Evans

Life is like a box of chocolates. It doesn’t last long if you’re fat. – Joe Lycett

When I was younger I felt like a man trapped inside a woman’s body. Then I was born. – Yianni

How many people here are psychic? Raise my hand! – Chris Dugdale

My father grew up in this really racist part of Boston, called Boston. – Alex Edelman

My wife and I can never agree on holidays. I want to fly to exotic places and stay in five-star hotels. And she wants to come with me. – Kelly Kingham

They say children give you something money can’t buy. Yes, poverty. – Jeff Green

My dad’s a real family man. He’s got three of them. – Steve Bugeja

If you don’t know what introspection is, you need to take a long, hard look at yourself. – Ian Smith

Why are disabled toilets big enough to run around in? – Lost Voice Guy

Went to my allotment and found that there was twice as much soil as there was the week before. The plot thickens. – Darren Walsh

Whenever I’m on a date with a girl I tell her she has an amazing laugh to trick her into thinking she’s been laughing a lot. – Adam Hess

You have to think positively. For example, I don’t have a drink problem. I have a drink opportunity. – Lou Sanders

I wasn’t sure about this beard at first but it’s grown on me. – Tez Ilyas

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My husband never learned to drive. In my opinion. – Jo Brand

Does anyone think that Camilla is what Princess Diana would look like if she survived the crash. – Frankie Boyle

“Son, I don’t think you’re cut out to be a mime.” “Was it something I said?” asks the son. “Yes.” – Damien Slash

THE MEDIA AND THE MURDER OF JO COX

In the early afternoon of Thursday 16th June 2016, after leaving a meeting with her local constituents, the 41-year old British Labour politician Helen Joanne Cox, a married mother of two young children, was chased down the streets of Birstall, England by a man intent on killing her, a killer who was patiently lying in wait. The man subsequently stabbed her, then shot her, and left her to bleed to death in a car park behind the local library.

Jo

So shocking was this murder that six days later, marking what would have been her 42nd birthday, tributes took place in London (where Malala Yousafzai spoke), Beirut, Brussels, Melbourne, Nairobi, New York, Washington, Aleppo, and cities across Europe.

Another reason for shock and dismay was that this murder came 4 days after the Orlando shooting in which a Muslim, who pledged allegiance to ISIS, gunned down 49 people in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Naturally the worry was that this murder was also committed by a Muslim.

My wife was watching TV when the news first broke. Early on practically every news channel was reminding viewers that this may be a terrorist attack, that this may indeed be a terrorist related incident, that terrorism is something we cannot rule out at this particular moment, and so forth, a mantra repeated over and over. The repetition, however, stopped abruptly when it was revealed a few hours later that the person who committed the horrific murder was not a brown skinned foreign Muslim, as the repetitive mantra of ‘terrorism’ would suggest. Instead we found out the killer was a white Christian British man named Tommy Mair.

Mair was described by neighbours as a “loner”, he had a history of mental illness, and he allegedly had links to far right groups (including American neo-Nazis). Eyewitness Clarke Rothwell heard him shout “Put Britain first” twice as he shot and stabbed Cox. Mair is also believed to have blamed Cox for concentrating too much on European and Syrian-related issues, at a time when local mental health services were also being cut back. A leaflet distributed around West Yorkshire, allegedly from the British National Party, went one step further by saying Cox was murdered because she was “helping Muslims.” Jo Cox was also a supporter of the Palestinian cause, being a member of Labour Friends of Palestine.

Jo Palestine

Jo Cox, fifth from left, with other MPs who joined Labour Friends of Palestine in 2015.

Once again I found it depressingly interesting that as soon as the news found out the killer was a non-Muslim, terrorism was most definitely ruled out, never to be mentioned again, and the new hymn being sung was the standard of Mair being a ‘loner’ with ‘mental health issues’. Incidentally, the 52 year old killer was passed mentally fit by the police for interview on 16th June 2016. Furthermore, when he appeared in court charged with murder he gave his name as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain”.

Lone Wolves

Is chasing an innocent politician, a human rights campaigner, down the streets of her local constituency, then stabbing and shooting her in broad daylight whilst shouting far right slogans not terrorising enough? It depends on your skin colour and religious bent, I guess. If the killer had been a Muslim, with or without genuine mental health issues, would the terrorism stance have been dropped so easily by the news networks? I somehow doubt it very much. This double standard in media reporting is something I have mentioned previously in relation to Orlando.

Jo Cox is someone I never knew but the more I learn about her the more I wish I had been lucky enough to have known her. May she rest in peace, and may God bring patience and understanding to her family.

Below are further points on the murder of Jo Cox.


The double standards in media reporting were noticed by this Englishman…


James O’Brien comments on the ‘hatred’ in British politics that may have led to Jo Cox’s murder…


Adam Hills reminds us that ‘we are better than this’…

We are better than this. We are all better than this. This is one of us and this is a reminder that anyone can snap. Anyone can commit horrific effects in the name of their own ideology but no ideology is worth taking a life for. No ideology. Whether it’s the fight of your sovereignty, the basis of your religion, the colour of your skin. No ideology is worth taking a life for and just because one person takes an extreme action in the name of their beliefs, that doesn’t necessarily mean that their beliefs are inherently wrong. Britain First on their Facebook page said yesterday even if he is a Britain First supporter you can’t tarnish the whole group with the actions of a few, to which someone replied well you could say the same about Muslims. And that’s true to. This shouldn’t reflect on the Britain First movement any more than a lone gunman claiming to represent Allah reflects upon Islam…Let’s remember the words of Jo Cox in her maiden speech to Parliament which says everything we need to know: “We are far more United and have far more in common than that which divides us.” – Adam Hills, from Channel 4’s The Last Leg, June 2016


She spoke her last words to her Muslim friend…

Fazila 1

Ironically the final moments of Jo Cox were spent in the arms of her Muslim assistant, Fazila Aswat, who tried to comfort her friend and colleague. Fazila ran to the Labour MP’s side and lashed out at the white non-Muslim attacker with her handbag before he forced her back. When Fazila begged her friend “Jo, get up”, Jo replied with her final words “No, my pain is too much, Fazila. I can’t make it”. Fazila’s father later confirmed that these were the last words of Jo Cox.

Fazila 2

Fazila and Jo, along with 3 year old Maliha Aswat, pictured at a fund raising event in Dec 2014


Not only did she stand up for Palestinians, she also stood up for Syrians…

Not only was Jo Cox a member of the Parliamentary group Labour Friends of Palestine, but she also did a tremendous amount to help Syrians, which is summed up in the brilliant article 8 Reasons Why Syrians Will Never Forget Jo Cox.

Jo Aleppo


Anhvinh Doanvo compares apples to apples by comparing ISIS to Britain First…

If Mair was even remotely inspired by Britain First to murder Cox, shouldn’t today’s logic conflate Mair’s act of terrorism with Britain First?…the media has consistently conflated attackers in Orlando, San Bernardino, and Garland with ISIS because of their pledges to the group. The public has reacted accordingly, demanding stronger military responses against ISIS. However, none of these attackers were provided material aid or supervision by ISIS—they did not even maintain any direct links to the organization…Jo Cox’s assassination demonstrates the illogic of our conflation between lone wolves and larger, potentially violent, national groups. Although ISIS is a heinous organization threatening Western interests in Syria and Iraq, it is dangerous to conflate the actions of lone wolves pledging to ISIS with ISIS just as it is absurd to perceive Mair’s actions as a threat coming from Britain First. The inspiration that both provided is alarming, but absent any concrete association between the wolves and their pack, drastic measures like the banning of Britain First as a terrorist organization or an expanded war against ISIS seem less than palatable. – Anhvinh Doanvo, from an article entitled We Should Treat Jo Cox’s Murderer and The Orlando Shooter As Lone Wolves


Laurie Penny links the murder of Cox to Brexit…

Nigel Farage, the rich, racist cartoon demagogue, boasts that this victory was won “without a single shot being fired”. Tell that to the grieving family of Jo Cox, the campaigning Labour MP gunned down last week. Farage promised that unless something was done to halt immigration, “violence will be the next step”. It looks like we’ve got a two-for-one deal on that one…This Britain is not my Britain. I want my country back. I want my scrappy, tolerant, forward-thinking, creative country, the country of David Bowie, not Paul Daniels; the country of Sadiq Khan, not Boris Johnson; the country of J K Rowling, not Enid Blyton; the country not of Nigel Farage, but Jo Cox. – Laurie Penny


After her death, her husband made a truly poignant statement…

Today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful, less full of love. I and Jo’s friends and family are going to work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo. Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people. She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, 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 would have no regrets about her life, she lived every day of it to the full. – statement from Brendan Cox, husband of Jo Cox

Brendan Cox Love


The last word goes to Jo Cox herself…

It is a joy to represent such a diverse community. Batley and Spen is a gathering of typically independent, no-nonsense and proud Yorkshire towns and villages. Our communities have been deeply enhanced by immigration, be it of Irish Catholics across the constituency or of Muslims from Gujarat in India or from Pakistan, principally from Kashmir. While we celebrate our diversity, what surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is that we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us…I am Batley and Spen born and bred, and I could not be prouder of that. I am proud that I was made in Yorkshire and I am proud of the things we make in Yorkshire. Britain should be proud of that, too. I look forward to representing the great people of Batley and Spen here over the next five years. – Jo Cox delivers her maiden speech to Parliament on 3rd June 2015