Documentary Review: ‘Disturbing The Peace’ Is Inspiring

A world torn by war. A place where any semblance of peace has pretty much been abandoned. No, I am not talking about America after the 2016 election (hopefully), but the ideas presented in Disturbing the Peace transcends borders, races, religion, and any other labels that are used to divide and conquer. The title is a little misleading as the film focuses on a group of former enemies trying to create peace against all odds.

Disturbing the Peace follows the formation and development of “Combatants for Peace”, a group of Israelites and Palestinians who come together to promote peace among their feuding countries. Starting with stories from their childhood, they discuss growing up amongst bombings and endless bloodshed. It is disturbing to see armies bulldozing civilian homes, amongst other more depressing types of casualties. Some of the footage looks like reenactments, while other footage looks like genuine news or documentary footage; not really sure what type is used or the ratio of use, but a lot of it is brutal.

As the participants tell their stories, they get into how they grew up and joined the fight against the other side. One woman discusses a day when she planned to act as a suicide bomber, telling her 6-year-old daughter goodbye. Trying to see things from her perspective actually makes this a heartbreaking scene. Which is one of the points of the group and this film, to try to see things from the other side, to stop the fighting.

Another nerve-wrecking scene is when people from the two sides decide to meet to try to start their peaceful group. Neither side is quite sure the other is not going to kill them and both are acting more or less on faith and the desire to end the conflict. Over time, the group grows, but they are facing an uphill battle patterned after other peace activists like Gandhi, Mandela, or Martin Luther King Jr. A battle that pits them against both military and civilians.

It can be easy to compare the film to just about any two groups at any time, regardless of how much fighting they actually see. We are lucky here in America. We seem to be heavily divided right now with no end in sight, but we have yet to resort to utter chaos nationally. Still the one thing we need to work on, that everyone would be better off doing, is to learn to “SIT DOWN AND TALK” (Doctor Who reference; anybody? *crickets*).

I liked the film, even with some subtitles, and in the end I found it to be inspiring. It inspires us to get involved in the world and you should not be ashamed to do so. “We are patriots. But patriotism does not mean that we stand for everything our government does. On the contrary, I’m critical because I want to stay here… and raise my children here.”

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