A small park, a bunch of kids, architects and artists nice weather and a convivial atmosphere in a troubled neighborhood in Brussels. The park had been closed for a long while and was opended on Friday. Immediately a flurry activities took place. Kids made excellent mint thé, two cups for 1€, sold their mom's delicious cookies 4 for 1€, artist devised activities...photomaton their picture was taken while holding the message. They played, enjoyed themselves, no screaming, no fights.
The locals build this climbing tower for the kids to play on with scrapped pallets. I was impressed by the task the guardians of the peace fulfill. They are not part of the police, they are responsible to the federal minister of the interior. They are mediators, are a presence in the neighborhood and seem well trusted. They have quite a task in this neighborhood with an impressive mix of nationalities or ethnicities: all kinds of North Africans, black African, Pakistanis and Indians. Some of the kids were three lingual speaking French and Dutch and the language of heir parents. Belgium is a strange country an the countries of the Arab spring look it how it works. There is no government since over a year, there are three official languages and the distinction North/South going through the country. The people who come and visit want to know why there is no civil war, how the Belgians do this... I think it is because people and groups keep talking to each other. Communication and exchange, sometimes heated, but it is understood to be a way of learning to respect the other and to eventually work together. All this can be learned in a small park in Kuregem/Cureghem. The local people have the key to the park for four months, there is hope for a gentler way of living together thanks to these small scale projects.