Greg Mortenson’s own cup of tea
In his own words, Greg Mortenson is quite a bit more revealing about his motives in Pakistan. Pax Americana is definitely a subtlety lost on him.
This map is from the Central Asia Institute‘s own brochure. It shows the parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan where Greg Mortenson’s CAI has helped finance community building projects. I thought the shaded area formed an interesting buffer zone along the border to… CHINA! Is that region of greater interest peacewise than the war-torn borders facing Afghanistan or India?!
The current Independent features a cover story on Mortensen, to promote his Jan 15 Colorado College appearance. It turns out he’s as inarticulate as his dictation of Three Cups of Tea suggests. Here’s how Mortenson regards his unwitting Islamic accomplices:
…we bring in mullahs who support girls’ education. We have two ex-Taliban who are now teaching in our girls’ schools and have become some of our biggest proponents. It’s somewhat similar to an ex-smoker or an alcoholic who has changed and becomes very against smoking or drinking.
Here Mortenson describes how his schools convince Muslim communities to enroll their girls:
We even use good old-fashioned Western capitalism. We go and tell a mullah: If I want to marry a girl in your village, how many goats do I owe you? He might say five goats. If she has a fifth-grade education, how many goats would I then have to pay you? And the answer would probably be 15 to 20 goats. A goat is usually $30 to $40 each.
And then we tell the mullah: If all the girls are educated, just think of how much more wealth you’d have. Then you can see his eyes get bigger.
At least Mortenson is up front about the Capitalist invasion for which he plays scout. Evidently the untapped region’s girls are for sale, and once educated they’ll have value-added for mercantilism.
American society tends to glorify education for its own sake. What “education” is CAI providing to the Muslims exactly? Do CAI’s texts teach that secular culture is intent on the eradication of spiritual culture? Is the CAI curriculum simply favoring western indoctrination over an Islamist counterpart? I’ll let Mortenson show his hand:
perhaps the most controversial, is our Islamic studies for about two or three hours every week. It’s very tempered, and we include in that learning the differences between Sunni and Shia. We’ve also added what you might call religion studies, or learning about different faiths or religion.
In a monotheistic society you need that like emperor penguins need tap dancing lessons. Imagine the uproar if we tried to teach New Life Church kids that the faith of their parents was only one extreme of many! A good idea no doubt, but unlikely to provoke a peaceful reaction.
Our junior high student came home yesterday with three promotional pieces about Three Cups of Tea in advance of Mortenson making an appearance at her school. Do you wonder how he’s getting such press? One of the pamphlets instructs the children about how they can “Help Three Cups of Tea (3CT) surge:” (My emphasis, their slip of the forked tongue)
1. Recommend 3CT to at least one person or place: family, friend, colleague, book club, professor and teacher, student, and places of worship. It also makes a great gift! (You’ve got to be kidding me! 3CT practically screams you’re illiterate.)
2. Visit 3CT website…
3. Recommend 3CT for ‘One Book – One Read’ at www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook/one-book.html (please don’t).
4. Recommend 3CT as a University or college-wide… read www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/articles/070607/7summer.htm (YGTBFKM)
5. Ask bookstores without 3CT to stock the book, especially airport bookstores. (?)
6. Send 3CT with a personal note to your Senators and/or Representatives (US legislators, why?)
7. Write a ‘letter editor’ [sic] to suggest 3CT and to support education and literacy… to promote peace, economic development and prosperity. (Emphasis mine. Co-opting Muslim girls for Capitalism promotes peace how?)
8. Ask magazines, newspapers, or radio station [sic] to review 3CT (they suggest sending a copy)
9. Learn about the power of girls’ education… in What Works in Girls Education (by Neocon think tank author Barbara Hertz)
10. Learn about grassroots book promotion…
11. Suggest 3CT to Oprah: www.oprah.com/email/reach/email_showideas.jhtml
12. Suggest 3CT to C-Span 202-737-0580.
13. Write a book review on Amazon.com, bn.com… (No need, it’s getting slammed! Too bad my Junior High principle isn’t getting a clue. Are our teachers illiterate too?)
14. Start Pennies For Peace in your school, library, or place of worship… www.penniesforpeace.org
Billions for war, but apparently we need only pennies for peace.
Hopefully 3CT’s proceeds are going toward peace. (Marie reports their financials say it’s “up to 7%,” so hey, they do mean single-cent figures!) Perhaps Mortenson can earmark some of the Coins for Cultural Sensitivity.
The Amazon reviews are uproarious! But 3CT trolls are loading the funniest with bad marks where it asks Do you find this review helpful, so you’ll have to look fast. I’ll reprint a couple below.
By the way, Three Cups of Tea, One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… was originally released as Three Cups of Tea, One Man’s Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations. It wasn’t selling the mission?
I’ll work up my own slipcover for Mortenson’s speaking engagement, with help from the comments below. Hopefully he’ll be good-natured enough to sign it:
Three Cups of Tedium: One Man’s Mission to be a Dhimmi
-A Condescending Westerner who attempt to “educate” Muslims.