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  • Muntadhar Zaidi, Diane Abbott and Marielle Franco are appointed honorary presidents of Cambridge University Labour Club.

    Muntadhar Zaidi, Diane Abbott and Marielle Franco are appointed honorary presidents of Cambridge University Labour Club. | Photo: Twitter / @CULC

Published 9 May 2019

The Cambridge University Labour Club appointed Marielle Franco, Muntadhar Zaidi and Diane Abbott honorary presidents. 

The Cambridge University Labour Club (CULC) appointed Marielle Franco and two others as their honorary presidents Thursday.

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The CULC’s executive community published a statement saying they have unanimously decided to remove Alastair Campbell as the honorary president due to his role in the Iraq war.

Campbell, a British journalist played a “central role as Tony Blair’s chief strategist in the invasion and occupation of Iraq” which “should rule him out of any serious role or prominence in public life” according to the organization.

“Campbell is worthy of no decoration: if justice were ever to be served for the Iraqi people and all victims of the War on Terror, he would stand trial at the Hague alongside his old boss,” the statement said.

In his place, CULC appointed three honorary presidents.

One of them is Marielle Franco, an Afro-Brazilian feminist and socialist activist who was shot dead in March 2018.

“Marielle was an inspiring black Brazilian feminist and socialist politician in Rio de Janeiro. She stood firmly against racialized state violence in Rio’s favelas and for women’s rights,” CULC said.

“In March 2018, she was brutally murdered by a criminal gang linked to the Bolsonaro family. Her life of struggle and its enduring legacy shines as a beacon in the global fight against resurgent fascism and for a just world. Marielle, Presente!”

They also appointed Muntadhar Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist who is known for throwing a shoe at former U.S. President George Bush for his leading role in the Iraq war.

Zaidi threw his shoe at Bush during a press conference in Baghdad in 2008 yelling, “this is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog.”

CULC statement said, “For this heroic act, targeting Campbell and Blair’s co-conspirator, he was violently detained and imprisoned. He continues, to this day, to stand against Western imperialist involvement in his country.”

Another honorary president is Diane Abbott who was the first Black woman MP in the U.K. She was also one of the first Black women to study at Cambridge University.

“Having subsequently dedicated her life to the cause of democratic socialism, including upholding an exemplary commitment to internationalist values, she represents the very best of our party and wider movement,” the statement read.

The Labour Club at Cambridge was founded in 1905. It was named Cambridge Fabians initially. Later, in 1934, the club changed its name to the present one. CULC’s mission, according to their Facebook page, is to campaign for the Labour Party and to promote the “Labour values” in Cambridge.

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