Amar Ekushey observed in Brussels

Published : 22 Feb 2023 09:42 PM | Updated : 23 Feb 2023 04:05 PM

Amar Ekushey and International Mother Language Day observed in Brussels with Foreign Discussants and Friends

The Embassy of Bangladesh in Brussels and Mission to the European Union commemorated the 71st anniversary of Amar Ekushey and observed the International Mother Language Day in Brussels with spontaneous participation of international speakers, friends and members of the Bangladesh community.

In a packed event held at the Press Club Brussels Europe, as second part of the daylong observance, Martin Hříbek, from the Institute of Asian Studies, Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague spoke on “Language and People’s Identity”. 

Special guests at the event included Rensje Teerink, Head of South Asia Division at the European External Action Service (EEAS) and immediate past EU Ambassador to Bangladesh. 

UNESCO, which celebrated IMLD 2023 with the theme ‘Multilingual education – a necessity to transform education’, was represented by Oriol Freixa Matalonga from the UNESACO Liaison Office in Brussels.

The event was also graced by a significant number of guests from the diplomatic corps, senior representatives from the EU and Belgian authorities, members of international organisations, private sector, international media and Bangladesh community in Belgium.

Reflecting on the context of the 1952 Language Movement, Martin Hříbek highlighted that while language is acquired, one’s mother tongue is embodied.

This means that when someone is denied access to speak in their mother tongue, they are essentially disembodied. When the Pakistan Government denied the Bengalis to have Bangla as one of the official languages of Pakistan, it amounted to immobilising the existence of the Bengalis. 

The resulting protest and revolution by the student martyrs of 21st February created the historical antecedent for transformative social change.

Professor Martin hailed Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as not only a statesman of Bangladesh but of entire South Asia. In his speech, Bangladesh Ambassador to Belgium Mahbub Hassan Saleh, highlighted that it is the language Bangla which gives identity to the Bengalis. 

He recalled with deep respect the role of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the Language Movement of 1952 and the subsequent visionary role played by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 21st February receiving recognition by the UNESCO as the International Mother Language Day.

Ambassador Rensje Teerink expressed happiness at being able to observe Amor Ekushey and International Mother Language Day with the Embassy on this special year of the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh-EU relations.

 She recalled with respect and happiness her memories of laying wreath at the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka on this auspicious day during her tenure in Bangladesh. Oriol Matalonga highlighted that the UNESCO has been observing International Mother Language Day for more than 20 years through promoting linguistic diversity and multilingualism, which has very strong roots in the Bangla Language Movement of 1952. 

During the program, the iconic song of Ekushey was played in 12 languages and a documentary titled ‘My Mother Tongue’ was screened. In the morning segment of the observance, members of the Bangladesh community in Belgium and Luxembourg participated in the program organized at the Embassy premises.

Taking part in the discussions, the community members recalled with respect the role of Bangabandhu in leading the Bengali nation in the Language Movement and subsequently in the Liberation War of 1971.

Earlier, Ambassador Saleh hoisted the national flag at half-mast and paid his respect to the language martyrs and laid a floral wreath at the temporary Shahid Minar set up at Cours Gordon Bennett in Brussels. 

Messages on the occasion provided by  the President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and State Minister for Foreign Affairs on the occasion were read out.

 The song of Ekushey was played and a documentary on Bangabandhu and the Language Movement was screened during the program.