Rep. Keith Ellison, who is currently traveling in Darfur, began using Twitter last night to send brief dispatches back home. The congressman justified taking the trip and expressed surprise that he was able to enter the country at all (he protested in front of the Sudanese embassy this spring).
“Rolling to Dulles, then to Sudan. Destination: Darfur. Juba and Khartoum too. Goal: investigate the humanitarian crisis, chances for peace.”
“Plane is taking off for Sudan. Surprised they let me in given my protest activity at the Embassy. Investigating the humanitarian situation.”
“How does Darfur trip help MN? 1) MN has Sudanese folks 2) many in MN are globally aware, 3) conflict tends to spread, 4) US aid goes there.”
It is the first time the congressman has used his Twitter account since May. Unlike the rest of the delegation on Twitter (Paulsen, Oberstar and Bachmann), it is clear Ellison is writing these himself from a Blackberry – rather than a press secretary.
Update: Ellison recently wrote that he was stopped by an “agent” while boarding a connecting flight to Sudan because of an Israeli stamp in his passport. It’s unclear if he was able to board the plane.
“Problem: Boarding Frankfurt-to- Khartoum flight, agent stopped me b/o Israeli stamp in my passport. Same passport has visa to enter Sudan.”
Update (1:14 p.m.): It looks like they did stop him from boarding the plane, though a recent Tweet announces that things are back to normal.
“Things are looking up. Things might back on track w/ the Darfur trip. But stay tuned. It feels like anything could happen.”