Op 25 december overleed in Wilrijk op 81-jarige leeftijd Tijl Declercq, voorzitter van het Vlaams Palestina Komitee, waarvan hij in 1991 de stichter was. Eerder was Tijl Declerck actief binnen de (overwegend Franstalige) Belgisch-Palestijnse Vereniging. Hij was ook jaren lang volksvertegenwoordiger voor de Christelijke Volkspartij (CVP) en in die hoedanigheid actief in de Parlementaire Euro-Arabische Associatie. Hier volgt een Palestijnse hommage.
On Christmas Day, in Bethlehem, I heard the sad news about you.
You have been an educator and father for us, and still – I have known you as a humble man. I learned from you that we always have friends who are truly with us and with the rights of our people. I knew you in the darkest days, when most of our friends were fooled by illusions about peace in our region. You told me that I must remain optimistic and work calmly and quietly. You told me about your visit with Yasser Arafat, the symbol of our struggle, in Beirut back in the early 1970s, when a visit of this kind was not popular among European politicians.
You taught us and me personally, that we should believe in our cause and go on, because then solidarity will follow. You have been a true friend, father, teacher and spiritual mentor.
I wish I could pay you a last visit and put a flower on your body. However, my dear friend, this wish cannot come true, because the occupier does not want to give me this honor. Still, your soul will be with us, and we will carry high your human principles and pass them on to all those who believe in universal values and justice.
Rest in peace – and God help us and your family and friends to bear the heavy loss.
Coordinator, Palestine Right-of-Return Coalition
Campaign for the Defense of Palestinian Refugee Rights
BADIL Resource Center
Bethlehem, 25 December 2003
(Uitpers, nr. 49, 5de jg., januari 2004)