Revolutions of the heart (interested in turning in a particular direction) are served by imagining, even in the time of their wildest violence (when the revolution is physically violent, or when it moves through the violence of creativity) the rehumanization of the oppressive class – the soldiers, the militias, the plutocrats (playwright Maggie, looking at a picture of two soldiers beating a protester in her home country of Uganda – “And these boys are our brothers.”). The strength to forgive (to move fact forward through time without ownership; with indifference, and space in which to imagine the good) is served by successful witness. When those who have suffered violence feel they are listened to, when those who have suffered (continue to suffer) are given agency as listeners, when perpetrators have audience beyond persuasion, astonishment – beyond even influence – when perpetrators are witnessed as human – then revolution turns from the violence of creation to the grace of creation, a cooperation with uncertainty, a dying forward into change.
Revolutions are served by action; action is served by witness; the basis of witness is listening; revolutions are served by listening. There is getting and doing that’s required, but also “how may I have less, have nothing; how may I be more perfectly ready for you, how may I sister and brother you – how possibly, may I be in family with you again – after all this is over?” Leaning through correction into need.