The Embassy of Bangladesh in Brussels and Mission to the European Union organized a virtual program on 15 August to observe the National Mourning Day and the 46th Martyrdom Anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with due solemnity and respect.
The programme began by hoisting the national flag at half-mast by Ambassador Mahbub Hassan Saleh. He then placed a floral wreath at the portrait of Bangabandhu on behalf of the officials of the Mission. A one-minute silence was observed as a mark of respect to the memory of Bangabandhu and all the martyred members of his family who were brutally assassinated on this day, 46 years ago.
The discussion programme thereafter followed, participated by members of the Bangladesh community in Belgium.
During the discussion, Ambassador Mahbub Saleh underscored that Bangabandhu and Bangladesh are synonymous. He said, "The heinous assassination of Bangabandhu along with most of the members of his family was, in reality, the slaying of the newly independent, sovereign Bangladesh and an attempt to take Bangladesh back to the dark days of pre-independence. In the absence of Bangabandhu, it was his visionary daughter Sheikh Hasina who ably took the reins and has been leading the nation towards prosperity and development. Ambassador Mahbub Saleh called upon Bangladeshis living abroad to work towards mobilizing international support for bringing the self-confessed and convicted killers of Bangabandhu back to Bangladesh for due execution of the court verdicts."
Members of the Bangladesh community who participated in the programme said that the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu and most of the members of his Bangladesh tainted Bangladesh as an ungrateful nation before the world. They highlighted that Bangabandhu's vision of an independent Bangladesh and said that his philosophy, works, teachings and ideals will forever remain a guiding force for the nation.
Two internationally reputed personalities, who were conferred the ''Friends of Liberation War Honour'' award in recognition of their invaluable contribution to the historic War of Liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, also participated in the virtual programme.
Dr Richard Cash, global health researcher and senior lecturer in international health at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, recalled his experiences of living and working in Bangladesh since the 1960s.
He said, "The Language Movement of which Bangabandhu was part of, was absolutely critical in the whole run-up to the Liberation War and the culture of the country was totally intertwined…Bangabandhu was very much part of this culture, his Bengaliness, his love of that country and of the people…".
Dr William Greenough, professor emeritus at Johns Hopkins University, recalled Bangabandhu as a people's man who was always connected to his roots.
He said Bangabandhu's "heritage lies in the success today of all Bangladeshis and the country itself which he formed …his courage to be willing to go to jail, to be in unlawful captivity under the dictators of Pakistan and still come back and become the leader of free Bangladesh is one of the most remarkable stories of the 20th century".