A short and unexpected story of peace from one of Belfast’s playgrounds

Hear a short peace story straight from Belfast

“I am sitting at the playground.

A Romani family from Romania sat next to me. Children are wearing school uniforms from my son’s school.

The women are dressed up very traditionally. Black tops, long skirts, thick tights, hair either loose or gathered in a bun.

They sat in a circle. My son is playing with the Roma kids on a swing, they all speak English fluently with the so-called Northern Irish “twang”. At some point, the children are running to their mothers.

One of the mothers, with a very bad English, is screaming to me asking if Isaac can have a chocolate. I agree, smiling.

My son runs back to me with the treat. I’m teaching him how to say ‘thank you’ in Romanian. Isaac runs back. “Multimesc!” he says.

The ladies’ circle lights up with a beautiful collective smile.

Once upon a time, a certain Roma woman, a hate crime victim, was so surprised by the kindness of people who had offered her support that she said: “We are being kicked out from so many countries. Here, too, sometimes something bad happens. But at least here we are treated like human beings. Almost always. We also stopped being afraid.”

She put her hand on my belly (I was pregnant that time) and blessed Isaac who was getting crazy inside.

Today the blessed Isaac is playing with a group of Roma children, he is laughing and is happy.

Roma mothers are quietly drinking tea from a thermos.We are exchanging amused glances while our children do their stuff”.

The above story was told by Aleksandra Łojek, an expert in Iranian issues, interpreter, author of a book about Belfast, an expert in radicalization and our collaborator. 

Aleksandra will tell us more about the issue of jihad on April 12 at 8 PM during the next conversation of our series (in Polish) “Muslim Snapshot”.


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