Learning Objectives:

  • To raise awareness of our own collective narrative and those of others
  • To consider the process of how they are constructed
  • To understand the purposes these collective narratives serve


  • Understanding the process individuals undergo when developing a warrior or perpetrator identity, a victim identity and a collective narrative

 Issues to Explore:

  • What are you feeling having watched this segment?
  • What do we know about the respective collective narratives of Bassam and Itamar?
  • How would you describe your own collective narrative?
  • How do you see trauma and victimhood as experienced by Bassam and by Itamar?  How do their respective experiences differ?
  • Would you like to think about or share an experience in which you were either victim or perpetrator?


Terminology: dissociation; trauma; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); transformation; agency

  1. Watching that film made Itamar see himself as a killer rather than when he killed. What helped Itamar step out of disassociation and denial?
  2. What was the role of Shimon, Bassam's prison guard, in the dialogue that developed between them?
  3. The dialogue with Shimon does not get Bassam out of prison, so what does Bassam gain from it?
  4. What transformation did both Bassam and Shimon undergo through their dialogue?
  5. Working with the farmer from Gaza changed Itamar's attitudes about serving in the reserves in the occupied territory. What brought about this change in Itamar?

Building Skills

  1. How might you recognise and support people with regard to dissociation after traumatic events?
  2. How can dissociation and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) be recognised? Build a PTSD programme for a community under stress?
  3. What do you know about dialogue? How would you teach empathic listening, feeling and feedback?
  4. Can communities as well as individuals be dissociated? What might the impact be and how would you address it?



Terminology: 'the third'; 'the moral third' ; attachment patterns; empathy; recognition; resilience; 'refusenik'

  1. What sort of family attachment patterns do Bassam and Itamar come from? Do they differ?
  2. Reflect on your own family attachment patterns. How would you describe them in comparison to Bassam's and Itamar's?
  3. How do you understand Itamar's father's reaction to his pilot 'refusenik' son Yonatan?
  4. Where else besides the family are secure attachments experienced?

Building Skills

  1. What would building a secure base for a classroom, a work place, a political group, or family entail for your profession?
  2. How can you create a culture of empathy and recognition between individuals and groups where there are members from different cultural, political or ethnic backgrounds
  3. Can you build an exercise deconstructing the idea that "It is good to die (and kill) for your country" in favour of seeking 'the third', an alternative way?



Terminology: pain; resilience; dissociation; empathy; recognition; peace building

  1. What is the nature of Bassam's and Itamar's respective experience of pain? How do they differ?
  2. Reflect on your own pain and how you were comforted. How does your experience of pain affect your response to the pain of others?
  3. Why might pain result in anger or dissociation? How do you think pain might enhance or destroy resilience?
  4. What might be the role of pain in empathy, recognition and peace building?

Building Skills

  1. How might you raise the issue of pain in individuals or groups in conflict?
  2. When might it be helpful to differentiate between dissociation and resilience with regard to pain?
  3. If pain can be felt for self and other, how would you use this in your profession and peacemaking?



Terminology: seeing; recognition

  1. What is the difference between seeing and recognition?
  2. Have you ever felt 'invisible' or 'not recognised'?
  3. When might you have not seen or recognised the other?
  4. What are the psychological processes that lead to not seeing and recognising?

Building Skills

  1. What skills can you build that help 'see and recognise' the other?
  2. What skills can you develop that could help those who feel 'invisible' to feel recognised?


Terminology: trauma; bereavement

  1. How did Abir's death affect you?
  2. How do you understand Bassam's ability to maintain his 'responsibility to his message' when his daughter has been killed?
  3. How does Salwa's reaction to Bassam after Abir's death reflect the role of women in peace-building?
  4. What is Bassam saying about Abir's murderer?
  5. How do you understand Bassam's insistence on legal justice as opposed to revenge?

Building Skills

  1. Can you adapt some of the support Bassam received into a programme for individual or community bereavement?


Terminology: denial; self state; collective narrative

  1. What might the connection be between experiencing family or other secure attachment and Itamar's decision to disobey army commands of violence?
  2. We see Itamar moving out of denial into making his own decisions with regard to violent combat. What process has Itamar gone through?
  3. How do you understand that the lies Itamar felt he was told by his parents, the collective narrative and the army were worse for him than killing someone?
  4. What was the role of Combatants for Peace, and his family, in helping Itamar mourn his national ideology and to support a different ideology.

Building Skills

  1. How can ordinary citizens and combatants be empowered and rewarded to speak out when they feel something is wrong?
  2. Build a human rights programme that can be integrated and prioritised into school and professional educations.


Terminology: sacrifice; dissociate; moral third

  1. What is the meaning of sacrifice in this scene?
  2. What does Jessica Benjamin mean by "revolutionary movements sacrifice their children"?
  3. How do you understand Bassam and Itamar's revulsion to blood?
  4. What is your own reaction to blood?

Building Skills

  1. Explore the difference between sacrificing yourself by being killed, sacrificing yourself by killing someone else, and sacrificing the younger generation for your ideology
  2. Can you think of famous characters who were symbolically or literally sacrificed? Can you build an educational story with a changed ending?


Terminology: self states; transgression; trauma; victimhood; narrative; collective narrative; identity; collective identity

  1. What does Jessica mean by self states with regard to Israeli victimhood and perpetration?
  2. Can you name leaders who have transgressed the collective norm?
  3. Bassam would not let others see him cry. How might it affect a community that shares a trauma if a leader does not cry?

Building Skills

  1. How might you build a program that might overcome humiliation and shame?
  2. How can you help people think 'outside the box' in order to deconstruct collective narratives and identities and construct a new narrative?


Terminology: transgression; attachment; failed witness; dissociation; rupture and repair; witnessing; asymmetry of power

  1. What happens to your identity when you become a member of a group?
  2. What do you understand by the term 'witnessing'? Can you give examples?
  3. Can you think of an example of failed witnessing of an individual or a community?
  4. How does dialogue help members of Combatants for Peace, given the imbalance of power, when they are in conflict?

Building Skills

  1. How can group members be helped to identify their own and others' identities and retain them?
  2. Having recognised different identities, what sort of work on difference might be helpful?
  3. What team building would you suggest to establish relationships and the aims and purpose of the group?
  4. How would you build a programme to help groups deal with external and internal imbalance of power?
  5. Build a model for witnessing individual and/or community trauma that includes empathic listening and feeling and recognition.