The only thing we have to fear is fear itself (Franklin D . Roosevelt).
I have three Homelands.
My dear Fatherland – Belarus . The Motherland that should be praised to the skies . The Homeland for the soul.
Poland with its human dignity, Catholicism, memory for history, and esthetic taste. The Homeland for the heart.
And there is a country associated with the most important value: Freedom. It favors and brings up strong and confident people. It shelters the poor and the destitute. It has given me the hope and prospect of the free human spirit, creativity, confidence that justice will win, joy, and optimism. The Homeland for the spirit.
I love this country enormously for noble and genuine acts of humanity, for persistent and purposeful advancement, for commitment to God and pride for Man.
People in Belarus, my Homeland, know unforgivably little about the USA. For many, America does not exist, in a way. Not only because they have never been to America, lack substantial knowledge and strong personal and profession contacts with American colleagues. Apparently, there is lack of the American Dream: invincible confidence that everything is possible.
Shortage of scientific and informative books about America in Belarusian stores, conversations with colleagues and friends whose theoretic knowledge about this powerful and geographically remote country does not quite reflect the reality, finally, our civic initiative on the Belarusian-American cultural dialogue all have indicated the urgent need to cover or at least outline the history, development and essence of the “American phenomenon” although initially this brochure was planned as a selection of subjective reflections on America. It is vital not only to understand how Belarusians perceive America but also to comprehend multiple aspects of American experience, which could be applied and utilized more efficiently in Belarus.
Today, Belarusians by all the possible means have to maintain and strengthen the famous tolerance that forms the basis for intercultural dialogue, without which it is hard to imagine today any development and any decent competitiveness. It is essential to understand that we, Belarusians, should be open and perceptive to everything positive and constructive that exists in the world. It is always useful to build the bridges, to establish the dialogue, to adopt and creatively develop progressive ideas and discoveries.
To understand the specifics of American character, we should look at America from a comprehensive, broad, and nation-wide perspective. Of course, a lot of details are lost then and many issues seem simplified, but on the other hand, the entire picture is visible, and the goal here is to provide Belarusian readers with the initial knowledge about America, to try to correlate it with the Belarusian phenomenon. I find it necessary to highlight in quite scrupulous detail the aspects in the formation of the American nation that could be considered conceptual for Americans and important and useful for us in strengthening Belarusian socio-political, economic, cultural and spiritual subjectness and self-determination. Not all the aspects are accompanied with comments and parallels drawn: I intentionally left most of the work for my readers.
One can’t help being inquisitive about the country that became the world leader in a short lapse of time. The United States of America set the pace and direction of development for the modern world, and not only in terms of economics and finance, but also in terms of ethics, political thought, technological breakthroughs, social programs and culture. The power of “the nation of strong people and free citizens” is determined not by economic or military diktat, but by competitive society where talent can fulfill itself and brings victory to the entire nation.
When I refer to the USA I often use the word “America”. And Americans themselves do that.
There is a young and powerful, strong and promising, unique and universal country – the United States of America. Let’s discover it together! It is so vast and diverse that everyone can have their own America.
As we all are born free.