We Armenians, most of the time, define European or Western values in sarcastic terms, and for good reason.
A case in point was the destruction of thousands of khachkars (cross stones) in the Julfa region of Nakhichevan by Azerbaijani forces, when world organizations, and particularly the United Nations Educational, Social and Educational Organization (UNESCO), did not respond to the outcry raised by the Armenian and various cultural organizations, nor did they even raise the issue.
Now that Europe has acted forcefully, though belatedly, we may revise our perceptions of those European values and work around them to convert them into political assets.
Politics are based on self-interest. Viewed through that prism, Europe has every reason to cater to Azerbaijan, when the latter has come forward to offer to Europe its supply of gas, in case the Russian gas flow is interrupted due to the Ukraine war. Therefore, in the first case, we have to appreciate the European Parliament’s principled stand before we deal with the context and impact of its recent resolution.
Indeed, on March 10, the European Parliament adopted a landmark resolution on the destruction of Armenian cultural heritage in Karabakh (Artsakh). The overwhelming vote in support of the measure underscores the sentiments of the European community with regards to this heritage issue, with universal dimensions; the vote was 635 against 2, with 42 abstentions. Such resolutions do not come by easily as tremendous networking and diplomatic maneuvering are required. It looks like this time around, Armenian diplomacy worked diligently, enlisting the support of friendly countries and diasporan organizations.
The resolution is not a simple and generic condemnation of Azerbaijani actions against Armenian cultural heritage, but it deals with specifics and presents the issue to other world political and cultural entities to stop the destruction and pave the way for their future preservation. It has even further political implications for the destiny of the people in Karabakh, if Armenia’s diplomacy can tie the issue to the future plight of Armenians in Karabakh.