A New Chance At Understanding in the Middle East

9 Dec

My friend, Bob, sent me this email tonight.

“This guy is my latest ‘hero’ and I believe what he is doing is important – educating young people. I believe what he is doing will go a long way in combating radical Islamists in these countries.  He will get a donation from me this year.

“His first book, ‘Three cups of Tea’, tells of his failure to climb K2 in Pakistan, getting lost in a snowstorm and being saved by the locals, and his promise to build them a school. Since then he has built 80 some-odd schools in the remotest regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, plus several trade schools.  This guy pays himself virtually nothing (to the chagrin of his wife) and he stays in $2/night flop houses with no heat or running water when he travels in-country. He can build and staff a school for 5 years for about $50K – about 10% of what it costs the World Bank to do the same (because of the corruption and bureaucracy involved with large Gov’t agencies!).  He has been awarded Pakistan’s highest civilian medal and was nominated for the Nobel peace prize this year.

“Check out his website.  This is one of the few ‘non-profits’ that seems to actually be doing what they promise.”

—–Forwarded Message—–
From: Greg Mortenson
Sent: Dec 1, 2009 9:27 PM
Subject: Peace In Afghanistan: Stones Into Stones

Greetings Robert,

Enable ImagesToday, my book, Stones Into Schools, will be
releasing just as President Obama makes his historic decision on troop deployment to Afghanistan. This also coincides with you receiving our Journey of Hope III 2009 publication with updates on our 2009 work in Pakistan, Afghanistan and USA.

We feel it is essential that the voice of those, who were never considered in the decision– the Afghan tribal shura (elders)– be heard. It is not politics that will bring peace, ultimately, only people bring peace. The decision to deploy more than 30,000 troops to Afghanistan (bringing the total to 100,000) was made behind closed doors and in secrecy, with no public debate, no testimony on Capital Hill, or no discussion from the media. For a democracy to progress, secrecy is not productive.

Promote Peace Through Books

Over the last six months, Central Asia Institute has been instrumental in helping dozens of Afghan shura (elders) from many rural provinces meet with the U.S. military commanders, without compensation or any benefit to CAI, other than to promote peaceful dialogue. This gave a chance for the shura’s vital voice be heard and recognized in making critical decisions that will determine the fate of their own country.

Stones into Schools

Please read our new book, Stones into Schools, for more information about the region today. Please contact your Senators and Congressional leaders to encourage them NOT to meet in secrecy behind closed doors about decisions that involve the American public and deployment of further troops. And please encourage our leaders strongly to invest in education and literacy, which is the greatest hope of all the communities we serve and work with, so that future generations of children have the right to attend schools.

Here are some other ways for you to help our mission:

1. Write a letter about Stones Into Schools suggesting that the U.S. leaders engage in further dialogue with the Afghan people.

2. Encourage local bookstores and libraries to carry Stones into Schools, and Three Cups of Tea, if they don’t already.

3. Encourage schools to use Three Cups of Tea or Stones into Schools as Common Read or Freshman Read (over 500 Junior and High Schools and over 100 Universities and Colleges use the book as a honors or campus wide read).

4. Encourage your book club to consider reading Three Cups of Tea or Stones into Schools.

5. A book makes a great birthday, holiday or mothers’ or father’s day present.

6. If you purchase at www.threecupsoftea.com or www.stonesintoschools.com and click on the Amazon.com or Indie (Independent Bookstores) banners, about 7% of ALL your book (and other) purchases will be donated directly to Central Asia Institute

7. Please forward this email to as many friends as you can to help us get the word out. Ask them to sign up for emails from me: https://www.ikat.org/alima/

8. You can now follow me on Twitter here.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to education and literacy.

Regards and Blessings of the seasons Happy Eid-ul-Adha, Kwanza, Diwali, & Christmas.
Enable ImagesGreg Mortenson
CAI staff & Alima Editor
August 2009

Since I don’t forward much email nowadays, I’m posting this instead, and I’ve ordered these two books. After I’ve read them, I’ll post reviews, but please don’t wait for my opinion. The prices at Amazon are reasonable and I hope you’ll get your own copies. Education and knowledge are vital to understanding and communication. Without understanding and communication, there cannot be resolution and peace. If we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem.

2 Responses to “A New Chance At Understanding in the Middle East”

  1. Marvin December 10, 2009 at 6:55 AM #

    Education is good, but then, some of the most violent, dangerous radicals are highly educated. Many of the terrorists who have been killed or arrested in the US were university students. Some of the terrorist leaders are highly educated as well. I don’t think education does that much to foster peace, really. Though I think it would help increase their standard of living by helping people learn useful skills other than poppy farming.

    I think it would be good for us to understand the AfPak population better, so that we can single out and kill the terrorists more quickly. In that regard, understanding WILL help bring about peace. 😉

  2. hidingplainsight December 10, 2009 at 2:03 PM #

    Loved Three Cups of Tea and Greg Mortensen. Great read… great project…

    You might like the “Kabul Beauty School” too.

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