Part 3: Recognition and Empathy

Bassam and Itamar contemplate their respective childhoods. Both grew up in warm, loving and supportive families though their experiences were very different. Bassam tells us that “my childhood was not normal" as he experienced the intimidation of the Occupation, but despite that he often felt like a ”'king”. He tells us of his mother’s love, how safe he felt close to her, and of his father's “generosity” which he explains in terms of care, for his children and others, which earned him the respect of the community. Despite not going to school himself Bassam's father insisted his children study. Bassam says "everything starts at home" which is where he learned love and responsibility.

Itamar also grew up in a loving large extended humanist family; his parents were also respected by their community. His mother was not happy unless she was helping someone; his father was a colonel in the Air Force. Yet when Itamar’s Air Force pilot brother signed a letter on the internet urging fellow-pilots to refuse ‘collateral’ killings in the Occupied Territories, their patriotic military father, with tears in his eyes, hugged his son saying, "It's not my way but if it is yours go for it". These two families illustrate Bowlby’s secure attachment. Jessica Benjamin says they are examples of growing up in what she calls ‘lawful worlds’.

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