Lisbon, 21 February 2022
Bangladesh Embassy in Lisbon observed the glorious Language Martyrs’ Day and the International Mother Language Day today (Monday, 21 February 2022) with due solemnity and dignity. In the morning, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Portugal Tarik Ahsan inaugurated the day’s programme by ceremonially hoisting the National Flag and keeping it at half-mast at the Chancery in presence of all officers and members of staff of the Embassy. The main programme on that day was organized at the permanent Shahid Minar at Campo Martires de Patria by the Embassy in collaboration with the Junta Freguesia de Arroios, the local government body.
The Shahid Minar premises had been decorated with banners, posters and alphabetic characters. Portraits of language martyrs were put on display at the premises. The programme started with the laying of floral wreaths by the Ambassador, the President of the Junta de Freguesia de Arroios Ms. Madalena Natividade, and Representative from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal Mr. Tiago Monteiro, Embassy officials and their family members and members of Bangladesh community in Lisbon. One-minute silence was also observed in the 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 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, while paying respect to the language martyrs, stated that her Council will continue to cooperate with Embassy and Bangladesh community in any initiative of cultural and welfare nature.
In his speech, Ambassador Tarik Ahsan paid profound tribute to the language martyrs. He 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. He remarked that 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 independence of Bangladesh in 1971. He added that the universal appeal of unmatched sacrifice for mother language was instrumental for UNESCO to declare 21st February as the International Mother Language Day in 1999. He added that, for supporting research about safeguarding linguistic diversity of this world and protecting endangered mother languages, Bangladesh, in 2010, established UNESCO-affiliated International Mother Language Institute in Dhaka. He called upon Bangladeshis in expatriate life to encourage their younger generation to practice Bangla language, alongside Portuguese language. He also urged them to follow martyr’s ideals of sacrifice, patriotism and self-esteem in their lives.
In a brief cultural segment towards the end of the programme, the song ‘Amar Bhaiyer Rokte Rangano Ekushe February, Ami Ki Bhulite Pari’ (My brothers’ blood-spattered 21 February, can I forget it) was sung in chorus. Light refreshment with traditional Bangladeshi snacks were served at the end of the programme.