Three Cups of Tea: A must read for all Americans

Inspiration, Reviews, World - other travel posts — By on October 7, 2008 10:38 AM

While lounging on the beach on the Perhentian Islands, I quickly read a book with a story that is so remarkable and inspiring that I had to share.

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a time.

By: Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin

“Slowly and painfully, we are seeing worldwide acceptance of the fact that the wealthier and more technologically advanced countries have a responsibility to help the undeveloped ones, not only through a sense of charity, but also because only in this way can we ever hope to see any permanent peace and security for ourselves.” Greg Mortenson

I could not agree more.

I have always believed that education and the care of children is the key to a better future for all and the only hope for peace in this world. SO many of the problems of the world could be minimized by education. Mortenson’s philosophy that you can change a culture by giving its children the tools to grow up educated so they can help themselves is so simple, almost common sense, that I don’t understand why everyone does noy realize the urgency and importance of education in today’s world?

Today’s terrorists are the result of ignorance. Children that live in regions that lack schools offering a basic education are easy targets for extremists who want to recruit the terrorists of tomorrow.

“If we try to resolve terrorism with military might and nothing else, then we will be no safer than we were before 9/11. If we truly want a legacy of peace for our children, we need to understand that this is a war that will ultimately be won with books, not with bombs.” Greg Mortenson

“As a military man, I know you can never fight and win against someone who can shoot at you once and the run off and hide while you have to remain eternally on guard. You have to attack the source of your enemy’s strength. In America’s case, that’s not Osama or Saddam or anyone else. The enemy is ignorance. The only way to defeat it is to build relationships with these people, to draw them into the modern world with education and business. Otherwise the fight will go on forever.” — Pakistan’s Brigadier General Bashiir Baz, quoted in Three Cups of Tea

From Publishers Weekly Starred Review.
Some failures lead to phenomenal successes, and this American nurse’s unsuccessful attempt to climb K2, the world’s second tallest mountain, is one of them. Dangerously ill when he finished his climb in 1993, Mortenson was sheltered for seven weeks by the small Pakistani village of Korphe; in return, he promised to build the impoverished town’s first school, a project that grew into the Central Asia Institute, which has since constructed more than 50 schools across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. Coauthor Relin recounts Mortenson’s efforts in fascinating detail, presenting compelling portraits of the village elders, con artists, philanthropists, mujahideen, Taliban officials, ambitious school girls and upright Muslims Mortenson met along the way. As the book moves into the post-9/11 world, Mortenson and Relin argue that the United States must fight Islamic extremism in the region through collaborative efforts to alleviate poverty and improve access to education, especially for girls. Captivating and suspenseful, with engrossing accounts of both hostilities and unlikely friendships, this book will win many readers’ hearts.

This book gives new meaning to the question “What difference can one person really make?” Many of us think about helping others, Mortenson just does it. I predict Greg Mortenson will win a Nobel Prize one day. He is truly a remarkable man and a true American hero.

If you have not read this book I urge you to buy it, read it, and share it with others.

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