Beyond the Politics of Violence

Beyond the Politics of Violence

Beyond the Politics of Violence

My name is Irris Singer. I am Director of our film Moving Beyond Violence.  The film is based on a question I have long asked myself: "How is it that some people choose to step out of violence while others don't ?”

My question first posed itself when as a young zionist socialist in 1959 I joined a kibbutz in Israel. I soon realised that Ben Gurion's promise of a State for all its people was not working.   Over the years I witnessed increasing hostilities and previously unimaginable behaviours.   I have also met people on both sides of the conflict who are deeply committed to peaceful co-existence; though not pacifists, they refuse to kill or be killed, to sacrifice themselves or their children, or to join the cycle of fear, hate, violence and revenge.   They have stepped out of denial  and seek another way to solve the conflict.

Combatants for Peace is a group of Palestinian and Israeli former combatants who have renounced violence, they have 'transgressed' against their respective collective narratives, they have moved beyond violence to step out of denial.  You will meet Palestinian Bassam Aramin and Israeli Itamar Shapira, co-founder members of Combatants for Peace who tell us their compelling stories and how they arrived at the political positions they hold today. Bassam and Itamar share with us their ongoing process.   

As a relational attachment psychotherapist I am interested in the complexity of how early and later life experiences, childcare patterns, personal and political experiences associate with stepping into and out of denial.   Bassam and Itamar tell us their experiences of empathy, recognition, resilience and agency which led to their 'transgression' of their collective narratives' denial of the others' humanity.

Dr. Jessica Benjamin:   Accordingly I invited Dr. Jessica Benjamin, a relational psychoanalyst from the US, who facilitates dialogue in conflict zones, including Palestine and Israel, to offer us her understanding of Bassam’s and Itamar’s stories.  In conversation with Dr Martin Land, a physicist, Jessica explores the social, psychological and political processes and contexts of Bassam and Itamar's decisions to step out of their collective narratives and how the imbalance of power affects both agency and responsibility of oppressor and oppressed. Our concept of the Ethical Mindset grew out of Jessicca Benjamin’s  ‘Moral Third’.

The Workshops are a space to consider the personal, political and ethical implications of following or repudiating the violence, inclusion exclusion and dispossession inherent in unethical collective narratives. Participants are invited to share their own personal or political experience so that we can pool our experiences and form a body of knowledge and skills to help us step out of denial.

Moving Beyond Violence is for concerned citizens, including those working professionally in peacebuilding, NGOs, psychotherapy, education and related fields, creative arts and politics.  We hope it will be helpful for citizens suffering conflict wherever they are.

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