Today was a big day for me! I both narrowed and broadened my choices for the rest of my stay at ASU, and hopefully the semesters will play out the way I want. May have opened a new window for the internship. And the Legacy tour came to ASU! Expect at least one, maybe two posts about March 2nd to come soon. In the mean time, I want to pay a little bit more homage to the Oklahoma Hold-Out: 105 hours as I type. In the early 90s, they held a short press conference that I tried to listen to while in class. I’ll be youtube-ing it to catch what I missed. At hour 100, John Prendergast – the former Director of African Affairs for the National Security Council under President Clinton and co-founder of The Enough Project – issued a video statement in solidarity with the Hold Out. Until my future posts, I leave you with the letter that the activists are handing out to passersby in the Sooner State:
Staying outside Senator Coburn’s office for 24 hours a day – especially when overnight temperatures dip below freezing – no doubt sounds a bit extreme, because it is! But please allow us to explain why we have chosen to be here instead of at our jobs or in school. It is for a worthy cause.
Right now, in central Africa, a terror group called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is stealing children from their homes and families and forcing them to become child soldiers. They are attacking vulnerable communities, burning down churches, and maiming their victims. In the last year, this group has abducted and killed thousands of innocent people.
With leadership from our government, this violence is preventable. There is currently a bill in Congress – called the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act (S.1067) – that seeks to spur such leadership. It has more bipartisan support than any legislation focused on Africa in America’s history (62 Senate cosponsors!), and Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma is one of its biggest champions.
But Senator Coburn is blocking the passage of this bill because it authorizes funding to help the victims of this violence without an “offset” that clarifies where the funds will come from. Let us be clear: this bill does not directly expand our budget or deficit, and Senator Coburn knows that. He also knows that attaching an offset to it would result in the bill’s likely death. So he has decided to block the passage of this bill – supported by 99 other Senators – to make a purely symbolic point, even as the LRA continues its campaign of violence and terror.
All we want is to see Senator Coburn engage personally in finding a compromise that upholds his own principles and still addresses this urgent crisis. Because we feel so strongly about stopping this senseless violence, we are not going home until such a compromise is reached.
You can help us by writing or calling Senator Coburn to request that he allow this bill to pass, and by visiting http://www.coburnsayyes.com where you can find more information or make a tax-deductible donation to support this cause.