A Drastic Change of Plans

It appears that a logistical wrench has been thrown into my summer study abroad plans. I will no longer be going to Sarajevo - or at least as my main focus. Rather I have decided to go to Brussels, Belgium for 2 months; attending Vesalius College from May 23rd to July 13th. The two courses I will be taking are 'Islam in European Politics' and 'Democratic Transitions in Eastern and Central Europe.' My focus here will obviously be NATO based as well as aimed towards the ICTY and the ICC. During this time I am planning to go on two excursions - one to the Hague in the Netherlands and the other as a weekend trip to Sarajevo for my birthday. 

This however is not the totality of my trip. I plan to spend the following month in Amman, Jordan; attending Al-Ahliyya Amman University from July 15th to August 18th. This leg of the trip will be no frills and on a budget to help offset this major cost. Here I will be studying the Arab-Israeli conflict and enjoying my return to the Middle East.

This complete summer overhaul is my way of spiting the powers that be in study abroad academia that did not get their stuff together to allow the Bosnia Summer trip to happen - for anyone. I will  be constantly updating this blog with stories, photos, and school work that I do along the way. And rest assured, I will be making two new banners to reflect this change in my summer plans. 

So Stay Tuned...

The Inane Ideology of Isolationism

Location: Waterloo, ON Norman, OK, USA

Here is my latest op-ed submission to the University of Oklahoma's Student Newspaper. This reflects my opinions of the ongoing unrest in Syria, the recent Arab League and U.N. diplomatic actions, and where I'd like to see this go. 

As it currently stands, I do not know if this will make it into the paper, or if this will be the same version. But here is my submission in its original form: 


The alarming escalation of the systematic crackdown of the Syrian people at the hands of their own government demands a greater attention of the Global community, especially here in America. 

As fall grows closer, the goldfish-like attention span of America will drift towards presidential campaign mania. This quadrennial tendency makes the public eyes of Americans drift even further towards introverted self involvement. It is during this period that America - from the Government down to University students - need to remain aware of the current events that will still define what our generation did, whether we acknowledged these events or not.

As a citizen of one of the most powerful nations in the world, I believe we have a duty to make sure that basic human rights are not systematically transgressed upon. This is especially more true when it concerns the citizens of other less fortunate nations, especially when at the hands of their own government. In regards to mass atrocity crimes taking place in the world, This time we know, again. [referring to the hesitant action of the allies in regards to Nazi Germany's persecution of the Jews; and that they would have intervened sooner, had 'we only known']. If we remain comatose and act complacent whilst doing so, we will become morally culpable and thus, morally defeated. 

In this now nearly year-long conflict, the death toll in Syria has exceeded 7,400 with the brutal violence that took place over this weekend. The Arab League has observed these atrocities in action and has gone to the United Nations [U.N.] with both their findings and recommendations. Overwhelmingly the support for these resolutions has been unanimous in the global community; except with the fatal flaw of two of the five veto power nations - Russia and China - opposing these security council resolutions. 

While the option of unilateral action is certainly a possibility, a consensus or coalition is easily a more desirable option. I feel if more grass-roots activism and voicing of sentiments to the world's diplomats takes place, our generation can get this message of action instead of just words across. The heinously high figure of 7,400 is not by any means fixed. 

The question you must ask yourself shouldn't be one of ledgers and dollars, but rather of moral principle. In ~20 years when you kid comes home from school after learning about these events and asks you about Homs, Bashar al-Assad, and Syria, what will you say to them? 

"Well, we ran this equation, and it turned out that the price per human life just didn't merit any action and abstaining from action saved us a lot of money" or 
"Let me tell you about the humanitarian intervention that deposed this despotic dictator and liberated the citizens of Syria"

I implore you to take action so we can keep Syria off of a macabre list that includes the likes of Rwanda, Sarajevo, Srebrenica, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The sooner we act, the better chance there will be for preventing a further and needless increase of this death toll. 

Nolan Kraszkiewicz
Religious Studies and Political Science Junior



I was published in the OU Daily and actually featured as a 'Guest Columnist' as opposed to my other journalistic ventures which were 'Letters to the Editor.' Here is the link to view my [slightly revised] article on the OU Daily website: http://oudaily.com/news/2012/feb/05/column-americans-must-turn-its-focus-syria/

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