Why?

A group of my friends from Callan Services in Papua New Guinea. Callan Services is a network of 19 Inclusive Education Centres and is PNG’s biggest provider of support to children and adults with disabilities. This extraordinary community through years of advocacy and asking ‘why’ were able to have the rights of the disabled recognised in the PNG Constitution.

I can remember as a young teacher visiting the family of a boy I taught. The lad had a young brother who was about 4 years of age. Little Matthew kept on saying his ‘new word’ – the new word was ‘Why?’ Why did daddy have to go to work? Why was the policeman wearing blue? Why did he have to be nice to his brothers and sisters? The list of ‘why’ was endless.

Sadly our world does not like people asking ‘why’. Too often we see situations where dissent or even asking for an explanation is seen as radical – and not nationalistic. If I, as an Australian ask, “Why do we continue to lock up thousands of asylum seekers for year after year against every tenant of the United Nations conventions that Australia is a signature to?” I am ‘un-Australian’, a ‘radical’, a ‘trouble maker’ – one of ‘them’! We must never be afraid of ‘why’! Truth has nothing to be afraid of.

It is important to hold our truth ‘lightly’. By that I mean – be open to change, be open to the fact that you may be wrong, that you may not have all the information, that you will have bias, that your viewpoint is a view from ONE point.

I love it when I see people – especially young people asking why. I love it even more when they continue to ask why and that it has become a habit of the heart and not just a ‘fad’ they are going through. I love it when we do not take our freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to protest, freedom to march and more for granted. I love it when we cherish and grow our democracy.

What follows are some questions – you will have your own. These are the questions that I believe, if asked from the heart, if asked with fidelity and courage – if asked from an authentic space – can make ours a better and more just world for all. What are your questions?

Questions to grow a global village of love and justice!

Who is voiceless?

Who’s needs are ignored?

Who makes decisions?

At what level are decisions made?

Who is unseen?

Who is ‘out of sight’ and ‘out of mind’?

Who has the power?

Who influences the media?

Is there a gap between the truth and what the media portrays? Why?

Where is the individual in all of this?

Whose voice counts?

Who is impacted directly by this decision?

Who pays?

Who really pays?

Who sets the agenda?

Who wins? Who loses?

If it does not work – why do we do it?

A friendly greeting and smile during my work in the Philippines.

Does ‘punitive’ punishment work?

Rehabilitation or punishment?

Who is excluded?

Who is included?

Who has a seat at the table?

Power or empowerment?

Economic rationalism?

User pays?

Who are the key players in this situation?

Who is taken for granted?

Who sets the rules?

Who says ‘what game we will play’?

Who has become an ‘it’ – of no consequence?

Who feels powerless?

Who is trapped?

Who is empowered?

Who has claimed their voice?

Who is robbed of their dignity?

Who is a pawn on someone else’s chess game?

Who is the puppeteer and who are the puppets?

Who is the outsider?

‘He’ calls the shots – why isn’t it ‘she’?

It is all too much – where do you begin?

Who holds the purse-strings?

What can you see?

What do you sense is there but you can’t see it?

Why can’t you see it?

Who allows you to see what?

Who are the gate-keepers to this situation?

Whose voice is a whisper?

Why is that voice a whisper?

How do you change the system?

Can you change the system?

What is the politics of fear?

Why is the politics of fear so effective?

Does Religion play a role in poverty?

What role can religion play in keeping people poor?

Who is the outcast?

What is blocking people’s voices?

What are the roadblocks?

What is fuelling the fear?

What are the causal factors?

What piece of the jigsaw do you think you have to understand this situation?

What labels are limiting?

What is ‘unfree’ in this situation?

Who is ‘unfree’ in this situation?

Who is blinkered?

What are the blinkers?

What voice does and what voice does not count; the feminine, the earth voice, the indigenous, the peasant, the worker, the disabled, the child ….?

Who does not want to see?

Who is afraid?

Who is truly free?

Where is the ‘face of God’?

Where is the ‘face of love’?

Who are the hands of Jesus?

Who reached out?

Who has clenched hands?

Who is blind?

Who is crippled?

I look forward to hearing the symphony of your questions!

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