Monday, 26 October 2015
SAWBONNA: AT THE UNITED NATIONS IN GENEVA and THEODORE'S SEVENTY-EIGHTH BIRTHDAY.
Today is my Dad's birthday. Theodore would be 78 years if he had lived; and, the fact is, he is alive and thriving, in me, in my siblings, in my daughters, my neices and nephews, in my grands, Theodore's great grands, and in my Mom, Bridget. As I stood this morning in front of the United Nations here in Geneva, Switzerland, my heart verily sang with Sawbonna. I stood before rows of flags each speaking the voices of people. People who yearn for, who work for, who write about, who live: Justice. I thought about the inspired election that just occurred in Canada while I was in Ireland. Waking to the news that our country chose the voice of: Justice in electing Justin Trudeau, whose Dad was not only Canada's Prime Minister, but Pierre Trudeau was also Justice Minister, when my Mom and Dad chose Canada as their country. Listening to Margaret Trudeau celebrate her son, tears flowed from me. I celebrate Margaret too. A Mom, like my own, who knows loss, anguish, and love. I stood before those flags and I thought of the talks about Sawbonna: Justice as a Lived Experience, I gave in the past two weeks. The first in the Social Sciences Department, at Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK, the second, via Skype, Criminology Department, Mount Allison University, New Brunswick, Canada. I thought about one question that was posed in both of my talks. That question: "Did Glen not contact you too late? It was thirty years after he took your Dad's life." My response to the amazing individuals who sat in my talks, was simple and clear. My response, the echo of my wonderful Mom's forever voicing, "Nothing happens before its time." Nothing does. I am in Geneva, Sawbonna firmly planted in my heart, in my intellect. I will be attending several talks at The Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals, and Sustainable Development for Sawbonna knows no boundaries when it comes to addressing, articulating, and walking the path of Justice as a Lived Experience. Respect - Responsibility - Relationship, the three framing values of Sawbonna, sibling of Restorative Justice, means that nothing that is steeped in the heart and passion of Justice ever comes too late. That I know healing, voicing, authenticity, and deep kinship with Glen Flett, infuses my celebration of my Dad's 78th birthday. Sawbonna is an invitation to re-language Justice, one small step, one small word, one generous and genuine sharing at a time. Sawbonna is interdisciplinary, counter-intuitive, cross-cultural, crossing all manner of divide and division, which is clearly articulated in the abundant flags standing side by side outside of the United Nations. United in Sawbonna.