At least Brownback cares about Sudan

Julie Knapp

I’ve never been pleased with Sen. Sam Brownback’s agenda.

The idea of “reducing, reforming and returning” does not fit with my social and cultural values, but I am sure it does resonate with some Kansans and at least half of Americans.

In the “who is going to run in 2008?” media blitz, Brownback’s name has been discussed more than once. While no formal decision has been made, it’s something Kansans need to start thinking about. I mean, at the rate Kansas is going, if Brownback wins, a Democrat could replace him in the Senate.

That’s not necessarily why I want Brownback to run though.

One of the items on Brownback’s foreign agenda is Sudan – a country in turmoil that has largely been ignored by our country and the media.

The genocide happening in the Darfur region of Sudan is a complicated situation. I can’t begin to go into every detail of how it got started or what is going on now in this column, and I’ll admit the situation is hard for me to understand sometimes.

According to the U.S. Department of State though, Sudan has been at war with itself for more than three quarters of its existence, and most of the conflict has been raged because of religious and cultural differences.

The most current conflict is in western Sudan, known as Darfur. Because of rebellion, the government started supporting a militia now called the Janjiweed. The Janjiweed have been responsible for displacing almost 2 million people, along with raping and killing tens of thousands.

According to the U.S. Department of State, Sudan is on the list of countries who support terrorist networks, and both former Secretary of State Colin Powell and President Bush have called the situation genocide.

This is a situation that is far worse than Iraq but not something that will effect us all in the United States. Thus, it’s very easy for the U.S. government, the media and even the average American to brush it aside and concentrate on the foreign policies that are effecting us – Iraq and the threat from North Korea, among others.

Being the most affluent and diplomatic country in the world, this isn’t something the U.S. government can just brush aside and say, “United Nations – you take care of it.” If the American people don’t care about it, then our government isn’t going to.

This isn’t a topic that’s discussed every day in the Topeka Capital-Journal, the Kansas City Star or the Lawrence Journal-World, but it’s pleasing to know that despite the local media not covering it, Brownback is deciding to talk about it and take action anyway. I’ve heard him talk about this situation many times, and now he is starting to take action as well.

According to the Hutchinson News on Nov. 23, Brownback wrote a letter to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius urging her to divest from companies that do business with Sudan.

“Divestment helped bring an end to apartheid in South Africa, and I hope the example already set by six states will inspire other governors to take action,” Brownback said in the letter.

Brownback has also taken action within his own family to do the same by divesting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the country.

Brownback won’t likely win the presidential election in 2008, but I would still like him to run, despite his views on domestic issues. It’s sounding like he wouldn’t be afraid to talk about a complicated subject matter that may not effect the American people.

This is a horrendous situation and we should do everything we can to stop the genocide.