Bangladesh Embassy in Lisbon observed Glorious Martyrs Day and International Mother Language Day with due solemnity and dignity.

Report by Humayun Kabir From Lisbon, Portugal. Bangladesh Embassy in Lisbon observed the glorious Language Martyrs’ Day and the International Mother Language Day today (Wednesday, 21 February 2024) with due solemnity and dignity. In the morning, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Portugal Rezina Ahmed inaugurated the day’s programme by lowering the National Flag at half-mast at the Chancery in the presence of members of the Mission. The main programme on that day was organized at the permanent Shaheed Minar at Campo Martires de Patria by the Embassy in collaboration with the Junta Freguesia de Arroios, the local government body. Apart from Portuguese and some foreign guests, officials & family members of the Bangladesh Embassy and a large number of Bangladeshi expatriates living in Portugal, leaders and members of various political parties, media representatives, students, regional associations, and socio-cultural organizations attended the programme.

The Shaheed Minar premises were decorated with banners and posters. Portraits of language martyrs and roll-up banners were put on display at the premises. The programme started with the laying of floral wreaths. Ambassador Rezina Ahmed along with President of Junta Freguesia de Arroios Ms Madalena Natividade, a former member of the Parliament Mr. Pedro Anastacio and a representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal Mr. Tiago Monteiro placed the floral wreath at the Language Martyrs’ Monument. Members of different political parties and socio-cultural organizations also placed floral wreath at the Language Martyrs’ Monument.

Later, a one-minute silence was observed in memory of the martyrs. Afterwards, a round of discussion was held on the importance and significance of the Day. Speakers highlighted the contribution of the language martyrs to the evolution of Bangalee nationalism and the advancement of values of human rights, freedom and inclusion. Speaking on the occasion, the President of the Junta de Freguesia de Arroios Ms. Madalena Natividade said that her organization will continue to extend all our cooperation to the Embassy of Bangladesh. Former member of the Parliament Mr. Pedro Anastacio while paying respect to the language martyrs, stated that he will continue to cooperate with the Embassy and Bangladesh community in any initiative of cultural and welfare nature. The representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal Mr. Tiago Monteiro and Professor Shiv Kumar, Director of Hindi Studies from the University of Lisbon also spoke on the occasion.

In her speech, Ambassador Rezina Ahmed paid profound tribute to the language martyrs. She expressed deep gratitude to the then-emerging young political leader Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who led the youths in the language movement. She remarked that the 21st February 1952 is a milestone in the history of Bangladesh that inspired successive generations of Bengali nation in their legitimate struggle for their rights that ultimately led to the independence of Bangladesh.

She also added that it is a matter of pride that Bangladesh’s 21st is being observed all over the world as International Mother Language Day and many of the members of the international community may not know that it was the initiative of the Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to propose UNESCO for the declaration to preserve all the mother languages in the world. She urged the expatriate Bangladeshis to encourage their children to speak in Bangla besides Portuguese.

In a brief cultural segment towards the end of the programme, a song titled ‘Amar Bhaiyer Rokte Rangano Ekushe February, Ami Ki Bhulite Pari’ (My brothers’ blood-spattered 21 February, can I forget it) was sung in chorus.

In the afternoon, the Ambassador also laid a floral wreath in the permanent Shaheed Minar in Porto, another town in Portugal accompanied by several Heads and high officials of the local government, academia, media representatives and members of the Bangladesh community in Porto.



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