London, Jun 22: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai today paid a moving tribute to murdered British MP Jo Cox as hundreds of people gathered for a special memorial event at Trafalgar Square in London to mark what would have been the lawmaker's 42nd birthday.
The Pakistani activist, who survived a shot to the head by Taliban gunmen, said the gathering and the outpouring of support from the world over for the British MP proved that extremists have failed once again. "Extremists resort to bullets because they cannot win the battle of minds.
I am living proof that they cannot win with bullets either. Jo's message of peace is more powerful than any weapon of war and once again proves that the extremists have failed," said the teenager, who is now based in Birmingham with her family. "When my family needed a haven, this country offered it with open arms.
Jo's arms were open to all humanity. She embodied all that is best about this country," said Yousafzai, as she joined the MP's family and friends at the #MoreInCommon event to commemorate the life of the Labour MP who was shot and stabbed to death on the street near her constituency office in northern England last week.
The organisers of the event in a statement said, "One of the causes which was closest to Jo's heart was education for girls and Malala and Jo's work intersected at many points. Malala was shot for daring to defy those who had banned education for girls in her region of Pakistan and has spent much of her life since campaigning for human rights and education."
People gathered at Trafalgar Square as well as the Market Square in Jo's constituency of Batley, West Yorkshire, to celebrate her life. Her husband, Brendan Cox, and two young children made their way down the river Thames on the family house-boat for the memorial service in Trafalgar Square.
The vessel, decked with colourful flags, sailed through the city tugging a miniature boat called the Yorkshire Rose in a tribute to Cox. "When she saw pain, she wanted to do all that she could to alleviate it. Jo lived her life to the full with a pedal to floor and missing brake-pads," her husband said in his tribute to his late wife.
He had tweeted earlier in the day: "Today would have been Jo's birthday. If you can, please join us this afternoon to celebrate her life & legacy." A moment of silence was observed as actor Bill Nighy performed a reading and there was also be a musical tribute from U2, recorded by the band in Los Angeles.
Tributes are also planned in New York, Paris, Washington DC, Dublin, Brussels, Oslo, Buenos Aires and Beirut. The event in London included an honour guard from Jo's friends from the women's movement, wearing sashes in the suffragette colours of white, green and purple.
Brendan had earlier said that his late wife, a passionate campaigner for human rights, international development and the plight of refugees during her parliamentary career and in her previous role working for the charity Oxfam, "died for her views". Tommy Mair, a 52-year-old far-right loner, has been remanded in custody after being charged with Jo's murder and will appear in court again tomorrow.