Beste Mensen, Dear Friends,
First of all I would like to thank the organizers of this tribute. I want to say a special word of thanks to Jon Bustamante, who made the video. Yesterday night I saw the video on Facebook. This morning I watched it again and I had to cry. It touched me very much and for a moment I felt a big emotion. You really made a great portrait of him, thanks a lot!
I know and realize that Jan played an important role for the Filipino community in the Netherlands. He was touched by your situation and angry with the system in which it is possible for human rights defenders to be treated as criminals and terrorists. The system in which communists are not sure of their lives and have to hide or flee their country. He admired and supported your struggle and the untiring efforts to resume and make the peace talks successful.
Jan and I were partners for more than 35 years. However, we never lived in the same house. We both needed our own place, for several reasons. We were very different but also shared many things, like our love for music and our feeling for justice and humanity.
Jan was a very social minded man. He strived for a world in which there is equality, in which all people have the same rights. Yet he was realistic and knew, that this world is still far away and that the way to get there will be long and difficult.
Jan was a real autodidact. When he was interested in a subject, he wanted to know all details and made a real study of it. He studied mostly without teachers, because teachers became a bit crazy by all his critical questions and remarks! He bought many books and tried to understand anything. And what he learned, he wanted to share with others.
Jan tried to teach me many things. So he explained to me a lot about politics, about philosophy. He taught and stimulated me in using computers, in making music, in cooking, in educating dogs, and so on and so forth. Not all of these seeds fell into fertile soil, but many of our discussions enriched my life and broadened my horizons.
Jan was not an easy man. He always wanted to share and convince others of his way of thinking, of his point of view. He had a dominant way of discussing, which made it sometimes difficult to discuss with him. But when you knew him better, it was possible to handle this characteristic of him.
Jan was a very interesting and very colorful man. I am proud and happy that he came into my life; that I could spend so many years with him. Life was never dull with Jan. He always had something to tell, to explain, to joke… I learned many things from him, he stimulated me to do things which in fact I would never have dared to do.
I and many others miss him very much. But he will stay in my and our hearts forever.
I want to end with a very short poem which I found on the internet.
Those we love
don’t go away,
they walk beside us
but always near,
still loved, still missed,
and very dear.