MATERIALS

January 11, 2021

Interview with Columbia’s Jenik Radon, Lawyer, Negotiator, Professor and Scholar:

How to Restore Trust with America’s Allies
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From Humboldt University, President Biden should travel to Lithuania to meet the exiled freedom fighter of Belarus, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a courageous woman who took the mantel of leadership after her husband was imprisoned. Tikhanovskaya stands in a proud line of courageous East European women — Angela Merkel of Germany, Marju Lauristin of Estonia (a personal friend), and Zuzana Caputova of Slovakia, to name just a few—who have become symbols and upholders of the democratic values we want to live with. President Biden should echo the words of President Reagan who famously told Gorbachev to “tear this [the Berlin] wall down” by declaring that the authoritarianism in Belarus must end.  President Biden should promise at the European Humanities University, a liberal arts bastion (temporarily) located in Vilnius, Lithuania and exiled from its home in Belarus, that he will visit the village of Merechevschina in the Brest region of Belarus when freedom reigns in Belarus. This village is the birthplace of the American revolutionary patriot, Tadeusz Kościuszko, a Polish-Lithuanian-Belarusian freedom fighter and champion of liberty and an anti-slavery advocate. President Biden should take the opportunity of his visit to announce the establishment of a scholarship for students from the Brest area to study in the United States, starting in 2021, to commemorate the 275th anniversary of Kościuszko’s birth.

By Andrew Higgins
July 7, 2019

New York Named a Bridge After Him. Now, Kościuszko Is Getting His Due at Home

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Thomas Jefferson hailed him as the “purest son of liberty I have ever known.” New York named a bridge, a street and swimming pool after him to celebrate his role in the American War of Independence. Poland reveres him as the leader of a late-18th-century revolt against the Russian empire.

So what is Andrej Tadeusz Kościuszko, a lifelong foe of autocracy, doing at the center of a state-run memorial complex in Belarus — a close ally of Russia that has been ruled for 25 years by the same autocratic leader?

The simple answer is that Kościuszko — known in Belarus as Kastiushka — was born and raised in the bucolic countryside around Kosava, a small Belarusian town 125 miles southwest of the capital, Minsk.

By Mikołaj Gliński
August 28, 2015

Tadeusz Kościuszko – Bringing Freedom to Both Sides of the Atlantic

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Tadeusz Kościuszko (Blr. Тадэвуш Касьцюшка) was born in February 1746 in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, on the Merachoushchyna estate near Kosów (now Kosava, in present-day Belarus). He was the fourth child of Ludwik Tadeusz Kościuszko, a military officer, and his wife, Tekla. Kościuszko's paternal family was ethnically Lithuanian-Ruthenian, but it had been Polonised as early as the 16th century, and Kościuszko’s native language was Polish.

Although he came from a petty noble family, Tadeusz was very fond of playing with the local peasant children. His respect and empathy for the hard life of peasants likely originated in this period. He may also have been influenced by the ethnic and religious diversity of the commonwealth, which afforded a doctrine of religious tolerance.

<…> If you have problems with pronouncing or spelling Kościuszko's name, don't worry. President George Washington did too – he reportedly wrote Kościuszko's name 11 different ways. As for the pronunciation, anything close to ‘Kos-CHOOS-ko’ is fine, but for best results, you might want to consult our Guide to the Polish Alphabet.

You can also take the easy route – like Me-She-Kin-No-Quah, Chief Little Turtle of the Miami Indians, who visited Kościuszko in Philadelphia. He later told his tribe that he had made friends with a righteous white man, whom he called ‘Kotcscho’.

By Erick Trickey
March 8, 2017

The Polish Patriot Who Helped Americans Beat the British

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Kościuszko took liberty so seriously that he was disappointed to see friends like Jefferson and Washington own slaves. During the American and Polish revolutions, Kościuszko had employed black men as his aides-de-camp: Agrippa Hull in America, Jean Lapierre in Poland. When he returned to Europe in May 1798, hoping to organize another war to liberate Poland, Kosciuszko scribbled out a will. It left his American assets – $18,912 in back pay and 500 acres of land in Ohio, his reward for his war service - for Jefferson to use to purchase the freedom and provide education for enslaved Africans. Jefferson, revising the draft into better legal English, also rewrote the will so that it would allow Jefferson to free some of his slaves with the bequest. The final draft, which Kościuszko signed, called on “my friend Thomas Jefferson” to use Kościuszko’s assets “in purchasing negroes from among his own as [well as] any others,” “giving them liberty in my name,” and “giving them an education in trades and otherwise.”

5 May 1798

Will of Tadeusz Kościuszko

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I Thaddeus Kościuszko being just in my departure from America do hereby declare and direct that should I make no other testamentary disposition of my property in the United States I hereby authorize my friend Thomas Jefferson to employ the whole thereof in purchasing Negroes from among his own or any others and giving them Liberty in my name, in giving them en education in trades or otherwise and in having them instructed for their new condition in the duties of morality which may make them good neighbours good fathers or mothers, husbands or vives and in their duties as citizens teaching them to be defenders of their Liberty and Country and of the good order of Society and in whatsoever may Make them happy and useful, and I make the said Thomas Jefferson my executor of this.
T. Kosciuszko

Jenik Radon's Speech

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