The untimely death of British MP Jo Cox in the hands of an extreme English nationalist has deprived her constituency, her country and Europe of a hard-working and inspiring individual dedicated with body and soul to the good causes of humanity. It has also deprived the British Labour Party and UK politics from a rising star, and the campaign for the UK staying in the EU of a passionate and committed voice. The cowardly murder, though, may have quite the opposite result to the one expected by its perpetrator. Like an ancient Greek tragedy, where the Gods demand a human sacrifice before allowing supportive winds to blow for the departure of the fleet, so the sacrifice extracted from Jo Cox seems to have set the British Isles on a course closer to, rather than away from, Europe.
It did not have to come to this, nor was it planned to happen this way. But destiny and the unknown are well-established sources of history. If the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand by Gavrilo Princip ignited the First World War, this one will hopefully contribute to avoiding new conflicts on the European continent and possible serious side effects on the global economy. The lives of the innocent have often been taken by evil individuals, but have ultimately proven stronger than their opponents and have prevailed in the long run. Destruction cannot construct a permanent state of affairs, but can only disrupt and live at the expense of the creative forces for a short while.
The death of Jo Cox and the emotional reactions it elicited on both sides of the English Channel has mobilized forces that are much bigger than any argument than the Leave or even the Remain campaign could ever make. Disappointingly, even the latter until recently focused on economic arguments: why the UK should stay in the EU to avoid negative economic consequences. As important and partly convincing such arguments may be, they miss the bigger point, which has to do with a much more important bond between UK and its EU partners. It is a bond of common values and principles, a shared destiny in a changing world, a shared determination to overcome old divisions that have cost the lives of millions, and a decision to live and work together, on the basis of the many things that unite us.
The day of the UK referendum is fast approaching. The result may be too close to call until the last minute. It could go either way but it can certainly not ignore the dynamic ties of blood and emotion that were awakened by the assassination of Jo Cox. May she rest in peace and may the European Union, with the UK in its midst, come out of this ordeal stronger.