Politicians in the US state of Alaska have an issue. Incredibly, it’s over Sudan.
That’s courtesy of Sarah Palin, a “maybe, maybe not” presidential candidate in 2012, now planning an African “fishing” trip.
The issue, Alaska Dispatch newspaper reported Thursday, is the state’s failure to disinvest from institutions dealing with Sudan.
It first emerged in 2008 presidential elections.
On the campaign trail, vice-presidential candidate, Palin, implied as state governor she supported the disinvestment. Supporters of disinvestment said Palin administration opposed it. Support came too late to effect needed legislation.
The disinvestment was to punish the Sudanese government for committing genocide in Darfur. At the time, a story emerged that Palin thought Africa was a country. To Palin’s critics, that and her claim she could see Russia from Alaska, confirmed ignorance of foreign issues.
The disinvestment issue resurfaced shortly after Palin announced a trip to Sudan next month. She also had hoped to meet former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on the way.
The Guardian reported a Thatcher ally saying, “That would be belittling Margaret. Sarah Palin is nuts.” Palin’s supporters in the US were incensed.
South Sudan’s July 9 independence celebrations feature in the trip. Faster Times, a US-based website, claimed Palin might “...undoubtedly offer deep insights into the challenges that today face the wonderful nation-state of Africa.”
Personal speculation is that Palin heard Congressman Donald Paine, a Democrat from New Jersey, would be in Juba. He’s a hero to the ruling President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement/Army.
Pursuing ratings, the US media will focus on Palin, a Republican. Eclipse a Democrat and you earn kudos from the Republicans! It’s that petty. Another more plausible explanation is Palin is on an indirect vote fishing expedition in the event she vies for the presidency.
Televangelist Franklin Graham admires her. He had her on tow in Haiti last year. In addition to enticing souls into the Evangelicals God’s kingdom, Graham spews caustic criticism of Islam.
He has describes it with obnoxious adjectives, but defends Sudan President Omar al-Bashir, a Muslim, against the International Criminal Court. As for President Barak Obama, his father planted “seeds of Islam” in him. Apparently, conversion is an Evangelicals’ prerogative.
Graham also heads the humanitarian Samaritan’s Purse. Its activities in Sudan include supporting 10 hospitals. The Purse is also in a project to rebuild 500 churches destroyed in South Sudan’s civil war. Graham is undoubtedly a guest at the Juba gala, towing a photogenic trailer, Palin.
As the aborted Thatcher photo-op would have been, one with Mayardit, another with a Dinka child recuperating in a Purse hospital, just in case, would warm Evangelicals and conservative Christian’s voters in Palin’s favour.
Apparently, nobody told the Southern Sudanese nothing in Palin’s history indicates she ever cared about Sudan, let alone the South. Possibly Graham knows of a gem and sold it to Juba.
Alluding to Palin’s pursuit of grandeur in an article Huffington Post published, Glen Pierson wrote, “It is their (South Sudanese) time; don’t make it about you.” To the South Sudanese, former US First Lady Barbara Bush’s observations should suffice: “I think she’s happy in Alaska—and hope she stays there.”