Joe's father seeks peace after march

24th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

24 April 2006, BRUSSELS — The father of murdered Joe Van Holsbeeck said after Sunday's silent march in Brussels that it was now up to the judiciary and politicians to take up the cause against senseless violence.

24 April 2006

BRUSSELS — The father of murdered Joe Van Holsbeeck said after Sunday's silent march in Brussels that it was now up to the judiciary and politicians to take up the cause against senseless violence.

"I have done what I had to do. Now it is time for the police, the judiciary and politicians," Guy Van Holsbeeck told Flemish newspaper 'De Standaard'.

In the week and a half since his 17-year-old son's stabbing murder at Brussels Central station on 12 April, Van Holsbeeck now wants to rest, knowing that the emotional crash is still to come.

"I hear that 80,000 were there [for the march]. Is that a lot? I don't really know," he said.

At home with his wife and eldest son Jimi an hour after the march, Van Holsbeeck said the support from so many people had been greatly welcomed.

"Not that all those people can bring Joe back. But we wanted to give the world a powerful signal to give the death of Joe just a little bit of meaning," he said.

*sidebar1*"If measures now come that can prevent the death of another child, than Joe did not die for nothing. If nothing occurs, than it had absolutely no meaning."
  
Van Holsbeeck is pleased that he put his weight into the march, but said his public battle has now come to an end. He wants to try and rebuild his family's life.

"We will see whether and how that will succeed. It will not be like it was earlier. We were a family of four and now there are just three. We are no longer complete," he said.

Refusing to become a public symbol, Van Holsbeeck also refused an invitation to meet with Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt after the march.

"What must I have said to the prime minister? I can only ask that he gives us an answer to the questions that we have put to the politicians."

Van Holsbeeck said greater responsibility should be imposed on the parents of criminal youths and be taught how to handle their children. He said only locking the youths up will solve nothing, "we must primarily instill in them a sense of public responsibility".

He also refused to focus or stereotype on immigrant youth, stressing that his son was attacked by two youths, who were "coincidentally" of North African ancestry.  

Van Holsbeeck said a lot of immigrant youths had come up and shaken his hand during the march to give him emotional support and that a black woman whose son had also been stabbed to death had walked beside them for the entire march.

Fearing the emotional comedown was still to come, Van Holsbeeck said neither Sunday's march nor the funeral last Thursday will have had greatest impact.

"My real goodbye was in the hospital, when shortly after Joe's death I was able to give him a final kiss. It is there that I said farewell."

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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