The biography of this legendary courier from Warsaw was presented by Dr. Łukasz Jasina, columnist of “Kultura Liberalna”. “Jan Nowak-Jeziorański’s life seems to contradict our today’s debate. It shows us that it is not always right to contrast dying for one’s homeland and serving it. His life is an example of a patriotic attitude, which joins the military service in times of the great breakthrough but also normal, everyday, hard work for our country,” he emphasized.
Andrzej Seweryn, Director of Arnol Szyfman Teatr Polski in Warsaw, with support of three Warsaw university students, defended the thesis of the debate that “It is not worth dying for the Homeland”. On the other hand, Bogusław Chrabota, Editor in Chief of the Rzeczpospolita daily, supported by three “PAFF Leaders” Program alumni, namely Maria Dąbrowska-Majewska, Agata Otrębska and Leszek Gorgol, attempted to refute this thesis.
“Not only death passes values. Values are passed through the language, the effort and the dialogue. They are passed through the process of national education because the process of forming the society is a more powerful weapon against the enemy who wants to annihilate us than a bullet, though it can be used not only against the enemy,” argued Andrzej Seweryn. “Death is an inseparable companion of a battle and you sometimes must fight for values greater than an individual human life,” countered him Bogusław Chrabota. The debate was actively participated by the audience, including representatives of the Act Locally Centers’ network and their charges – two groups of youth from Bytów and Baranów Sandomierski, as well as the Ukrainian scholarship holders of the Lane Kirkland Scholarship Program.
The debate was summed up by Prof. Zbigniew Pełczyński, President of the School for Leaders Association who more than twenty years ago initiated the Oxford-style debates in Poland and during the event at the Royal Castle sat in the Box of Thinkers. The audience, with the majority of votes, supported the thesis defended by Andrzej Seweryn and his team.
The meeting was organized in cooperation with the Center for Political Analysis at the University of Warsaw, British Alumni Society and the School for Leaders Association with the support of the network of Act Locally Centers which are taking part in the PAFF “Act Locally” program, with reference to celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Jan Nowak- Jeziorański’s birthday.