Workshop Part 6

WORKSHOP VIDEO PART 6: Death of a Child

In Video Part 6 Bassam and his wife Salwa talk about the killing of their 10 year old daughter by an Israeli Army Police bullet outside her school. Bassam tells us how he chooses not to revenge his daughter’s death as it would sacrifice his other children to a life without a father. He chooses legal justice for the killer. Salwa talks about her initial anger with peace activism and her subsequent reaffirmation. We also meet Rami an Israeli whose 14 year old daughter was killed by a suicide bomber. These two sets of parents have put aside their desire for revenge. We accompany them on their journey through unbearable pain to their ultimate recognition of the subjectivity and humanity of their ‘enemy’.

Learning Objectives:

  • To try to understand the journey of bereaved parents (Palestinian Bassam and Salwa, and Israeli Rami) after the murder of their daughters to ultimate recognition of the shared humanity of their ‘enemy’.
  • How revenge sacrifices self and others.
  • How the diagram The Ethical Mindset helps us to understand Bassam’s and Rami’s response after the death of their daughters?


  • Killing and death in conflicts can lead to a process of relinquishing violence between ‘enemies’ when loss and pain can be accepted (Klein’s depressive position) when the same suffering is recognised in the ‘enemy’. In this process projections are withdrawn to allow empathic recognition of perpetrator and victim in self and enemy; fear is overcome and pain and comfort shared.

Issues to Explore:

  • Ask the group members if they would like to share what they are feeling after watching this video part? 
  • What can we learn from Bassam’s and Rami’s respective response to the death of their daughters?
  • Do Bassam and Salwa and Rami see themselves or their children as victims?   children?
  • How do you understand Bassam’s ability to maintain his ‘responsibility to his message’ when his daughter has been killed?
  • What do we learn from Salwa’s reaction to Bassam after their daughter’s death; think about the role of women in peace-building?
  • What is Bassam saying about his daughter’s murderer’s reason for killing her and his insistence on the legal process? Glossary: mentalisation

Facilitating the Workshop:

  1. You will need to address your own feelings about these bereavements, e.g. sadness and anger, views about perpetrator deaths versus victim deaths (no consensus about which is which!),    imbalance of power, and whether loss does or does not obliterate the political backdrop of the two deaths.
  2. Think about individual and community bereavement and the range of interventions possible after traumas involving terrorists or natural trauma such as earthquakes and floods, where there are no perpetrators.

    Allow the group to compare and contrast these and consider the context of the deaths of these two children.

  1. Consider what the function of having someone or something to blame, e.g. where there may be culprits.

    Invite the group to look at the way this option is rejected by Bassam and Rami and others in the film.

  1. Compare the desire to forgive and who may be being forgiven, with the search for justice. Are they compatible? What happens when justice is not achieved? Consider Bassam and Salwa and Rami with regard to victimhood and sacrifice, resilience and agency.
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