The online Bible teaching ministry of John Brand

Baroness Cox: A Voice for the Voiceless

Politicians generally don’t have a good reputation in the UK these days, and I have to confess to being no great respecter of most of them myself. However, there is one, unelected politician, a member of the House of Lords, who is almost universally respected and admired, even by those on opposite sides of the political divide – Baroness Caroline Cox. I had heard numerous stories about her but was delighted when I came across this biography of her and was able to read a firsthand account of her remarkable life.

Baroness Cox is some one who, as the title of the books suggests, has aligned herself with the oppressed and victimised, those who are not able to speak for themselves. Coming from a privileged background, her views on health education policies came to the attention of the then UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who appointed her to the House of Lords. Her involvement in campaigning came as a result of an invitation to become a patron for the Medical Aid for Poland Fund back in 1983. As her biographer says, “Not content with being a name on a letterhead” Caroline got involved on the front line of that organisation’s activity, seeing for herself the plight of those living behind the iron curtain of East European communism. From Poland to Siberia to Armenia to Burma and then to Sudan, the Baroness’s compassion and convictions have taken her into some of the most dangerous and deprived parts of the world where she has identified herself with those being brutalised or oppressed by the authorities.

With my own commitment to and involvement in Sudan, I was especially interested in the last quarter of the book which chronicles Caroline Cox’s often illegal visits into what was then the south of Sudan, investigating the burgeoning slave trade and recording eye witness accounts of torture, rape and genocide. From time to time she confronts national leaders and politicians, both in UK and overseas, and does so without fear or favour, always seeking to be a voice for the voiceless. Many of the accounts are harrowing and deeply disturbing to read about, but how much more so to see these things for yourself as she has done again and again.

What comes over very strongly in this extremely readable account is Baroness Cox’s strong personal Christian faith. She regularly resorts to prayer, gaining guidance and strength for the activities she is involved in.

It’s refreshing to be reminded that there are still those in public office who are motivated by conviction and who are quite genuinely seeking to use their influence to improve the lives of those much worse off than the rest of us; even repeatedly risking their lives in the process.

 Lion Books; New edition (22 July 2006) Review written in 2011

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