MINSK, 17 September (BelTA) – The people's unity of Belarusians relies on the most ancient tradition of grassroots democracy. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement during the patriotic forum Symbol of Unity held in Minsk Arena on 17 September to mark People's Unity Day, BelTA has learned.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “Our country's most ancient tradition of grassroots democracy lies at the heart of the people's unity. We choose our historical and political status together at referendums and Belarusian people's congresses. We vote by heart, on our own, and nobody dictates their will to us.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that it was in this manner that the proposal to make 17 September a new state holiday was put forward and backed by a majority of the Belarusians in 2021 – the Year of People's Unity. “Because the day has been a symbol of Belarusian statehood and a behest for the future generations for us for a long time. The behest to preserve the country's sovereignty, national unity, and peace in the native land.”
“Remember, Belarusians: it is the key holiday that we haven't wanted to mark for decades out of shame. There would be no country and no us without this holiday,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that in Belarus they say it with pride that the Soviet republic, which became a co-founder of the United Nations Organization in 1945, has secured a decent place in the international community and is recognized as the Belarusian national state with equal rights for all citizens.
The national unity was tested more than once in the 20th century. In the 1990s the Belarusian people rejected an attempt to build an extremely radical nationalistic state (“Belarus for Belarusians” was the motto back then), prevented the disintegration of the country and its pillaging, and preserved peace and accord in the society. “And Belarusians defended their independence in August-September 2020 at the height of the hybrid aggression that had been launched against us. We, true Belarusians, didn't let them repeat the blitzkrieg of the 1940s,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “But we return to the dramatic lessons of the first half of the last century without intending to reproach someone. I will repeat what I have said time and time again. Our neighbors are given by god just like to any other country. We are intent on peace and friendship in relations with everyone. We've never craved someone else's riches or land. We have plenty of our own. We don't even remind them today that Bialystok and the lands around it are Belarusian lands, that Vilnius is a Belarusian city, too as well as the lands around it. We don't talk about it. Intraconfessional balance and interethnic unity represent the unshakable foundation of our society,” he stated.
“All of us, all the people, who live in this land, make up the Belarusian nation. We have one state, one law, and the common historical memory for all. It is unbreakable. It is forever,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
“But we will never allow glorifying [war criminals like Romuald Rajs nicknamed] Bury and other murderers of the Belarusian people. They will always stay unchanged in our historical memory. There is no place here for those, who are dragging these criminals out of oblivion. Those, who are trying to stomp out, to tear apart our sovereign country, to make it part of the buffer zone around the brotherly country of Russia,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.
The president noted that many say that it might be a good idea to forget everything that happened less than 100 years ago. “Well, [the burned-down village of] Khatyn is immortalized by a monument. There are thousands of such monuments where our people were savagely murdered. We can forget it but you, Belarusians, must not forget one thing: as soon as we forget the road to these monuments, as soon as weeds grow all over the road to Khatyn, these atrocities will be repeated, these atrocities will once again come into our homes. We live as long as we remember it. There is a simple truth to life: if we forget them, we will be forgotten the same way. This is why we shouldn't let it happen. It is in our Slavonic hearts and thoughts.”