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November 10, 2010

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The Washington Times

DENVER, Co. October 25, 2010 – Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo is an extraordinary man with no shortage of friends, or detractors that have branded Tancredo a racist for his critical stance on Latino illegal immigrants.

Interesting to note, however is that he also earned a standing ovation at the July 12 N.A.A.C.P. forum in Detroit.

The Denver Post reports (October 3, 2010: “Hickenlooper leads in poll but lacks clear majority by Karen E. Crummy” ) that Tancredo holds thirty-four percent of the Colorado vote including his edge over Hickenlooper among Hispanic voters, which Crummy reports as being 42 to 40 percent. Tancredo is a contender in this race.

In New York to photograph the start of the Sudan Freedom Walk, I was privileged to learn things about Tom Tancredo, and President Obama, that few Americans know anything about. I discovered that while many in the Sudanese refugee community feel betrayed by President Obama, they reserve a special place in their hearts for Tom Tancredo.

It was in front of the United Nations Building in Manhattan that I first heard a Sudanese human rights activist mention Tancredo’s name in connection to U.S. foreign policy. What was said became instantly intriguing because of the depth of feeling for Tancredo expressed.

In 2001, then Congressman Tancredo was the primary sponsor and author of the Sudan Peace Act, later signed into law by President George W. Bush. That act focused on stopping a decades-long genocide, slave trade and the Sudanese government’s use of force to support slaving. Meeting with escaped slaves and refugees from Sudan who are community leaders and activists in Boston, New York and Philadelphia offered a rare insight into a man who now stands poised to be the next Governor of Colorado emerged.

During the period of September 15-27, 2010 Tancredo was not on anyone’s radar as a serious contender in the gubernatorial race. Now that Mr. Tancredo has surged in the polls and rearranged the political landscape, I thought it a good idea to ask my new Sudanese friends what thoughts they had about his candidacy and his detractors.

Francis Bok, who now resides in Boston, was kidnapped during a massacre of his village by Arab slavers at the age of seven, miraculously escaping his captors a decade later.

“He should be considered for governor because he’s someone that has a vision, he’s someone that is always looking years in front of him, he is someone that is visioning for others,” Mr. Bok said. “And those others are us.”

“I have met him myself,” Mr. Bok continued. “I have seen him speaking clearly and loudly on behalf of my people. I have no doubt in my mind that he will do something positive for the people of Colorado. He is a leader. He has already shown, and demonstrated that leadership during his time in Congress. And I’m sure if we had someone like him in the leadership in Washington, my people would not have to worry about what will happen on January 9, 2011 (referendum thanks to Congressman Tancredo’s efforts), because he would have already begun to start speaking out.”

Speaking to Mr. Bok regarding Tancredo being labeled racist for his anti-illegal immigration stance he stated, “It doesn’t make sense that people call Tom a racist.”

“After all we have witnessed since 9/11 2001, I don’t think anyone should actually be allowed to come in (to the U.S.) without being screened, without being asked where are you from, and what are they about,” Mr. Bok says. “He (Tancredo) is someone that we appreciate [for] his work on foreign policy during his time in Congress about Sudan. The Sudan government knows him, the people of south Sudan, the people of Darfur, and all the other marginalized groups of Sudanese people know who he is, and what he stands for. And I think he deserves a chance to be of benefit to Colorado. I do support him. If I had power, I would endorse him.”

When asked about Obama administration’s commitment to peace, Bok’s response was one of concern in that the Sudanese are worried about how the U.S. is going to protect them.

“[We are concerned] because we don’t see them speaking that much,” Mr. Bok says. “I am not willing to be once again forced into slavery by the northern Sudanese oppressors. For over 50 years my people have been oppressed and marginalized by these people who reached power in 1956. My people want to be a free nation, and rule us like other societies. The radicalist [sic], extremist fundamentalist regime in Khartoum, has slaughtered Three million southern Sudanese people.”

“We know very, very well that we are not being supported like the previous administration has done concerning the issue of Sudan. Both slavery and genocide are in Darfur and southern Sudan, and with this referendum, we’re just afraid. A miracle has to happen to help the people of Sudan. I’m praying every day because I do not want to see my people continue to be kept under apartheid by the radicalist [sic] regime.

Sudanese native Simon Deng was also enslaved as a child after being abducted by an Arab and transported down the Nile far from his home, being enslaved for three years before he escaped.

As leader of the Sudan Freedom Walk and an associate of the American Anti-Slavery Group, he is now a leading voice against slavery. From his home in Harlem, New York, Deng was eager to speak about Tancredo.

“Tom did a lot in Congress; He’s a good friend,” Mr. Deng said. “When it comes to friends, and the friends of Sudan, he is a person the people of Sudan will never forget, especially those who stand up for freedom.” “I think that Tom is among the few elected officials in Congress that said to them that the people of southern Sudan deserve what everybody on earth deserves. That’s freedom.”

Deng speaks of how the government of Sudan went wild for decades massacring and enslaving the people of southern Sudan, leading to the Sudan Peace Act.

“It’s the courage of individuals, we call them friends of Sudan, that the people of Sudan will never forget. I wish I could be in Colorado to help one who helped us,” Mr. Deng said.

Tancredo’s leadership in foreign affairs is relevant to his qualifications to run for governor. Many congressmen and senators, including then Senator Barack Obama, would travel to conflict areas around the world and treat those trips as photo-ops and subject matter for empty rhetoric.

Tancredo’s trip to Sudan propelled him to sponsor legislation that corralled the world’s greatest human rights catastrophe into a framework for peace. Not only did he achieve important action, he did so in a bipartisan way, with co-sponsors on the bill including Democrats as recalcitrant as Barbara Lee and Cynthia McKinney.

It’s very telling that his Facebook page says the Sudan Freedom Act is Tom Tancredo’s proudest lifetime achievement. The latest polling shows Tancredo in a statistical tie with his Democrat opponent Denver mayor John Hickenlooper.

Friday, October 29, 2010 – Art and Politics by El Marco

The Washington Times  10-19-1020

Please follow the link below to read the press release from Sarah Palin in which she endorses Tom Tancredo for Governor.

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