Rep. John W. Wydler, 1966: “let us reaffirm to the Byelorussian people that their hopes have not been forgotten by the free world”

Rep. John W. Wydler (R, New York) was one of many US Congresspeople who made a statement in the US House of Representatives in 1966, on the anniversary of the declaration of independence by the Belarusian Democratic Republic.

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Mr. Speaker, just 48 years ago, after centuries of enslavement and oppression, the Byelorussian people declared to all mankind they were a free and independent people. This declaration followed on the heels of the Russian Communist revolution and the downfall of the Romanovs. The reality of freedom was short lived, for before a full year had passed, the Russian Red Army marched through the countryside and Byelorussia was again under Russian control.

Rahel, the medieval Christian chronicler, wrote many years ago:

“To have freedom is only to have that which is absolutely necessary to enable us to be what we ought to be and to possess what we ought to possess.”

Today Byelorussia is not free. The Byelorussians have no way to assert their own national identity. They cannot be what they want to be, or possess that which they want to possess. They are being denied their own individual history, culture and national pride. They are clearly and simply a ward of the Kremlin.

As freemen who do not take our freedoms and liberties for granted, we are a link between the principles of freedom and self-determination and those who aspire to be free and guide their own destiny. On this 48th anniversary of Byelorussian independence, let us reaffirm to the Byelorussian people that their hopes have not been forgotten by the free world.

Source: Congressional Record