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Moran, P. (2018). Disturbing the Peace, Documentary, directed by Stephen Apkon and Andrew Young, 2016. Cpl. Fam. Psychoanal., 8(1):85-87.

(2018). Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, 8(1):85-87

Arts Reviews

Disturbing the Peace, Documentary, directed by Stephen Apkon and Andrew Young, 2016

Review by:
Perrine Moran, M.A.

Disturbing the Peace is a profoundly stirring and inspirational documentary about a movement for peace in the Middle East. Overcoming their fear and hatred of one another, a number of Israelis and Palestinians have joined forces to try and turn a destructive alliance into a creative one. Quoting from the DVD cover:

DISTURBING THE PEACE is a story of the human potential unleashed when we stop participating in a story that no longer serves us and, with the power of our convictions, take action to create new possibilities. DISTURBING THE PEACE follows former enemy combatants—Israeli soldiers from elite units and Palestinian fighters, many of whom served years in prison—who have joined together to challenge the status quo and say “enough”. The film reveals their transformational journeys from soldiers committed to armed battle to nonviolent peace activists, leading to the creation of Combatants for Peace. While based in the Middle East, DISTURBING THE PEACE evokes universal themes relevant to us all and inspires us to become active participants in the creation of our world.

Israelis and Palestinians are like a warring couple who cannot separate. Attempts at reaching solutions are all rejected, as if conflict had itself become so familiar that its end feels like a threat. In order to reach peace, the toxic and desperate status quo needs to be broken. The ability of a few to mentalize in a highly dysregulated climate, and prioritise the need for two peoples who share a land to overcome their murderous dynamic is what brings the Combatants together.

Eight protagonists—four Israelis and four Palestinians, three men and a woman on each side—tell their stories from what they witnessed and were told as children, to their active participation in the war and their decision to oppose violence, possibly their most difficult and courageous act. By looking closely at individuals whose lives are inseparable from the conflict into which they were born, the film bypasses political discourse to focus on the personal. The candid way in which participants relate their stories is both disturbing and persuasive. The word at the heart of the film is empathy. We understand, as viewers, how each participant has grown up filled with the desire to defend him or herself and kill the enemy.

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