News > European Armenians > Baroness Caroline Cox: I have now visited Artsakh 68 times
Interview with Baroness Caroline Cox by Arthur Ghukasian*
The Armenian people had a lot of enemies during their history. But at the same time they also had a lot of friends. You are one of those friends. How could you describe your feelings towards the Armenian people? What does Armenia mean to you and how could it happen that suddenly you felt a kind of responsibility willing to be useful to them somehow.
It has been my privilege to be with your Armenian people during the significant period when you were defending your historic land of Artsakh and to visit your people many times during that war and afterwards with humanitarian aid and to obtain firsthand evidence for advocacy. During those visits I was always humbled and inspired by the dignity, courage, hospitality and miracles of grace I encountered and it has been my privilege to be with many heroes and heroines. In my work, my primary commitment is to try to help people suffering from oppression and persecution - not only the Armenians of Karabakh, but also in countries such as Burma, Sudan, Northern Nigeria, North Uganda and Timor.
Your name has its unique place on the pages of our modern history. It is closely connected to Karabakh, which is an essential place in your biography. How can you explain the circumstance that getting known Artsakh ones, your interest towards that country became more and more? How do you as Lady Cox, present Karabakh in your country and in other places. What are the impressions that you got from Karabakh so far?
In fulfilling my responsibilities for aid and advocacy for victims of oppressive regimes, I have now visited Artsakh 68 times. In recent years I have been profoundly impressed by the ways in which your people there are rebuilding a shattered land and shattered lives - illustrated by the visionary work of Vardan Tadevosyan and his professional achievement in developing the Rehabilitation Centre in Stepanakert with such dedication that it is now recognised internationally as a "centre of excellence". Whenever I visit Artsakh, I am always amazed by the resilience and resourcefulness of your people and the way in which they demonstrate how the spirit of Armenia is not only like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, but also creates beauty from the ashes of destruction.
An awful phenomenon that Rafael Lemkin called "genocide" is still repeated in different parts of the world nowadays. Isn't the reason of the continuation of that phenomenon in your own opinion that the whole world hasn't accepted the fact of Armenian Genocide yet? And what are in your opinion, the facts that forbid accepting the Armenian Genocide? I mean what are the obstacles to do it?
You will be aware that I have spoken many times on this subject and have maintained pressure for full recognition. In my humanitarian work with oppressed peoples, I have encountered, tragically, many other situations which might be considered 'attempted' genocide, such as the attacks by Burma's brutal military regime against ethnic national groups in Burma, or the war waged by Northern Sudan against the peoples of Southern Sudan and the marginalised areas (the Nuba Mountains, Southern Blue Nile and Abieye - or currently Darfur). In the first war two million perished and four million were displaced. The well reported objectives of that war were the Arabisation of African people and the Islamisation of those who were not already Muslims. I do not think that failure to recognise the Armenian genocide would have any direct relevance to that war. However, I do accept that the failure to recognise any genocide may be an encouragement to others to believe that they can perpetrate genocide with impunity. I also believe that there are many obstacles which hinder the recognition of the Armenian genocide by governments and organisations who have, as yet, failed to do so, including the wish to avoid offending Turkey and possibly jeopardizing commercial and strategic interests.
You are from a noble family, you are baroness. What does that title oblige you? In what is the nobleman noble? Could you explain the process of becoming a lady?
I am not from a noble family: I was not born to a noble family but was appointed to the House of Lords, which is how I have become a Baroness. I believe that being a Member of one of the Houses of the British Parliament brings great privilege and, therefore, also great responsibility. I have tried to use that privilege by being "a voice for the voiceless".
What is the power to go forward? What source you take your power from?
I am a Christian and, as a Christian, I am obliged to remember the Biblical mandate requiring us to speak for the oppressed, to try to heal the sick, clothe the naked and feed the hungry.
If a woman were instead of me, she would definitely ask what a woman having chosen a political life should take into consideration in order to succeed.
As far as political life is concerned, I think there is no particular difference between men and women: both have an obligation to use the political arena as a Member in service.
Do you feel that you are unsatisfied after reaching your goals, or even disappointed?
In my work, with a commitment to trying to help people suffering from oppression and persecution, there is, unfortunately, no end in sight and there is, inevitably, frustration at not being able to do more for those in need.
It is said that the computer has changed people's way of life and habits? Has that machine changed anything in your life? If yes, what?
I have found the computer immensely valuable, time-saving in writing and in communication.
What would you like to add at the end?
I hope I will continue to use whatever opportunities and privileges I have to serve those who are suffering from oppression and persecution, who are largely ignored by the international media - as you will find if you look at our website www.hart-uk.org. In so doing, I hope I will continue while it is necessary to try to promote justice and freedom for the people of Armenia and Artsakh, as well as recognition of the Armenian genocide and similar genocidal situations elsewhere in the world today.
*The interview has first appeared in Spanish language in 19/01/2011 in Vega Media. The English version (originally written by Baroness Cox) is posted in Azad-Hye for the first time with special permission.
Caroline Cox, Baroness Cox (born 6 July 1937) is a cross-bench member of the British House of Lords. She also is the founder and CEO of an organisation called the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART). She has campaigned for humanitarian causes, particularly relating to disability, and has championed a range of Christian, eurosceptic and marginal causes, including action on forgotten wars in Africa (from Wikipedia).