The current conflict is bringing all kinds of Coloradans front and center. First, former U.S. senator Gary Hart issued a very public "I told you so," since his study predicting that terrorists were almost certain to strike U.S. soil -- okay, sometime in the next 25 years -- had gone largely unnoticed by both the media and the federal government that commissioned it. And now Bob Brown, publisher of the Boulder-based Soldier of Fortune, is all over the place, talking about his days fighting with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan almost two decades ago.
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Which is about the same time that two more Coloradans, Ellen Moore and Scott Harrison, moved to Nederland, relatively close to Brown in miles but on the other side of the political spectrum. For eighteen years, the husband-and-wife activists have been running Amnesty International's Urgent Action Network for the U.S. out of their home. And the group's sixty Urgent Action Network offices around the world are seeing a lot of action these days, much of it "calls almost for comfort," says Moore. "You commiserate." But Amnesty International is doing more than that. "We were very behind the wave on the Rwanda genocide, and it was a real source of anguish for leaders and boardmembers," Moore explains. So in order to stay ahead of the next world crisis, Amnesty International USA formed a crisis response team that would be ready to kick into high gear whenever the need arose.
And since it did on September 11, Amnesty's crisis team has been meeting twice a day in Washington, D.C., sharing information, reviewing the news and determining "how Amnesty can play a role, even though the U.S. government is having trouble figuring out what its role is," Moore says. "We have spent a lot of time looking at the humanitarian concerns -- not taking a political stand, but looking at the mistreatment, particularly of women, children and the elderly, both where the bombings happen and where the refugees are heading."
Meanwhile, here in Colorado, Moore and Harrison keep an eye on the rest of the world. On October 4, for example, there was a massacre in Colombia, and UAN quickly got the word out. "It's always our role to get out the most timely information to people who have promised to take action," says Moore, "either by writing the country, the ambassador, or members of Congress."
Of course, they also serve who only sit and wait...at football games, and on Sunday, CNN took note of the fact that Governor Bill Owens would be attending the Denver Broncos game. And why not? Before the season started, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice had picked Denver to go the distance.