This Time We Know, Again...

Over the holidays I have been watching the news quite carefully as well as making my plans for studying in Sarajevo this summer to learn about Genocide, War Crime, and Transitional Justice. Once I return from my family vacation in Canada, I will be posting the rest of my final papers from this semester. I have taken quite an interest in Foreign Policy as it relates to Humanitarian Military Interventions. As I study and plan to travel to study such Humanitarian Crises, I see the Syrian City of Homs transforming into the very subject matter I am researching. 

So Instead of just being passive and studying past events, I am trying to pro-actively prevent 'the Siege of Sarajevo'-like conditions from permanently scarring the Syrian people and the denizens of Homs. I sent this following letter to my Congressional Representative Tom Cole (R):


Rep. Cole,

I am a student at the University of Oklahoma double majoring in Religious Studies and Political Science with a minor International Area Studies (IAS). My focus with the Poli-Sci and IAS are the areas of American Foreign Policy, International Relations, and Humanitarian/Military Foreign Interventions. I am also going to the American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina [in Sarajevo] to do an intensive study program regarding the subject matter of Genocide, War Crime, and Transitional Justice.

A Friday Protest in the Syrian City of Homs
[photo courtesy of CNN]
My inquiry is about the Conflict in the Syrian City of Homs and how the situation on the ground is now closely resembling the early 90's Siege of Sarajevo. I would like to know what is being done to monitor the situation on the ground, what is being done by the US to ensure that Mass Atrocity crimes are either not happening or will be prevented from happening [a la the Responsibility to Protect - ICRtoP].

As a citizen of the greatest nation in the world, I believe we have a duty to make sure the basic human rights are not systematically transgressed upon the citizens of other less fortunate nations, especially at the hands of their own government. This time we know, again. If we remain comatose and act complacent whilst doing so, we will become morally culpable and morally defeated. So instead of just standing by and watching, Please let me be able to tell my [future] children we actually did something this time; free of False claims of WMD's or in search of Oil, but rather for freedom and liberty, in defense of the defenseless, for we should help those who cannot help themselves.

-Nolan Kraszkiewicz


The U.N. Estimated Death Toll is Currently at 5,000+
Do Something!

To read up on the situation in Homs, Syria here are some resources I would suggest:

The CNN coverage of the Crisis in Homs
Turkey's Hurriyet coverage of the Crisis in Homs

To contact your representative too: CLICK HERE

The Death of My Inspiration; The Birth of My Ascendancy

It is with a sad and heavy heart that I am discussing the departure of Christopher Hitchens from this plane of existence. Short of a death in my Family, or that of a friend - and just behind my cat - the death of the incomparable Mr. Hitchens is the saddest and hardest thing I could have experienced at this stage in my life. This man gave a voice to that which was without audible volume dwelling inside me, he made me fully feel that it was ok to not believe, and even propelled me to take the daunting and advantageous positions I now take.

During the past few years I had been imbibing every inscription made by this intelligent man. I was drawn to him because of his beautiful grasp of polemics and I fawned over his numerous criticisms of religion. While the latter is certainly what he is known for currently, Thursday night after I learned about his passing, I was watching hours of 30 year-old C-Span interviews featuring a younger Christopher Hitchens. He was analyzing the situation in Grenada and providing commentary and comparison regarding the freedom of the press in the United State and the United Kingdom as well as the current state of journalistic affairs in the world. Most notable about the interview - save his usual charisma with the host and camera - was his chain smoking that easily rivaled any industrial revolution smoke stack. Sadly while this was the signature Hitch, this would ultimately contribute to his fatal development of esophageal cancer.

His most recent book titled 'Arguably' is an 800 page compilation of essays and reports he wrote during his 40+ year long career as an essayist. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this book. He may be gone and the fresh stories may have ceased, but his writings will live on forever. The wit, clarity, and relevance of his writings are immortal even though the mortality of the author has been revoked.

I never got to meet him, but I was able to leave a message on his answering machine in Washington D.C. and occasionally flood his inbox with my emails. Now I can only review, reexamine, and continue to study his epic writings. At Oxford he earned their PPE degree which incorporated Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. I am majoring in the first, but am swapping in Religion and International Area Studies for the latter two. I hope one day to meet the height of his level of influence. My goal is not to be the next Christopher Hitchens, but to be the best Nolan Kraszkiewicz I can be, and use the great works of the incomparable Hitch to continue to spark my engine of ingenuity, interest, and scholarship. I will miss this man I never met, to an extent which few will ever know. This may be the death of my inspiration in the physical sense, but thanks to Christopher this is just the beginning of my ascendancy to a level I can see - currently positioned on this side of my furthest horizon.

Christopher Eric Hitchens, 13 April 1949 - 15 December 2011 
I would have liked it to perhaps end on a slightly more upbeat note, but the tone of this writing somehow adequately mimics the sentiment I feel in regards to a retrospective of 2011. Happy Winter season and I look forward to writing again in 2012 - I can only hope y'all share this same sentiment of enthusiasm.

[Now I'm off to CANADA!!!]

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