Friday, 4 July 2014


"The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn." 
—Gloria Steinem

I love these words from Gloria, which truth be told, I thought I first said! Tongue out of cheek, I must admit that for me Sawbonna is not only about seeing and being seen, about hearing and being heard. Sawbonna is about unlearning. And what exactly is it that we are invited to unlearn? Everything. And why not? Why not question everything? Why not ask how love, justice, joy, faith, fury, beauty, theology, law, freedom, and a myriad of other seemingly "known" things mean? How do they mean for us? Who are we in relation to them and those who have decided what and how a concept, notion, idea, ethic means? Or should? I have thought much about the fact that conflict is not violence, that acceptance is not agreement, that defining is not the same as describing. And how do I describe justice? How am I described in the landscape of living justice that can so easily seem to be one of violence, hatred, and less of compassion (for self and others) than would feel to be right. Sawbonna's invitation to unlearn is an invitation to describe rather than define, to un-box rather than box-in and box-up. It is an invitation to sit with paradox, conflict, fury, and creative fire, as well as the imagination's call to assert, "I see you. See me too." And this assertion means that we choose to be unmanacled from ideas of eye for an eye. Sawbonna, the invitation to unlearn asks, "How can we see each other and be seen, if in fact we find ourselves so easily and perfunctorily blinded?"

CBC Nova Scotia, Halifax: Sawbonna and Poetry and Restorative Justice
CBC New Brunswick, Moncton: Sawbonna/Restorative Justice, L'heure de pointe
At "access a tous les sujets" choose: 17 h 13

CBC Ontario, Ottawa: Sawbonna: On Meeting the Man Who Murdered Her Dad and How Writing Played a Role

CBC Television Interview: (Starts at 1:12)

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