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Re: “Making friends, not enemies

Dear ericnotmytribe, your comments are well expressed and introspective. And while a disparager of the neocon agenda myself, I cannot help but wonder if you have read the book Three Cups of Tea. I have and I believe that your comment typecast Greg Mortenson as a movement and not an individual. After reading the book TCT I have begun to comprehend the finer nuances of the problems facing the rural Central Asia. And while Greg has not undertaken to solve the political crisis anywhere he is continually asked by reporters (in all the articles or interviews of him that you can read on his website ) to comment on Terrorism and the catch phases with which we in the Western world identify the other or the Middle East with. If we read the book, it becomes clear that Gregs agenda is humanitarianism and his dogma is philanthropy: not politics. And your question: outreach missions such as Mortenson's do not invite further Islamic anger I can answer as a Muslim. Because Muslims realize that Greg is not an Evangelic missionaryhe has been secular in his benevolent efforts and that charity is the centrifugal force of Islam (whether Muslims always live up to that is debatablebut I know what the Quran says). He is also not bringing Western education and ideology to the indigent villagers, but has a curriculum that is essentially Pakistani and Islamically appropriate, as this article points out. Also Greg has been educating boys and girls...not just girls as you articulated, so that there are no frustrated bachelors in those villages as you assume, but young married couples who have some knowledge with which to ameliorate the basic standards of their lives. Its not about terrorism, Islam and America: and with respect I want to quote the phrase James Carville coined: Its the Economy, stupid. That Universal economy is not just an American invention or requirement. I felt after reading the book, Greg has no real ulterior motive but to help poor kids get a potential to get edification and thus a better Pakistani life, not one that is eco-socio-western. What I find arrogant and ethnocentric is when tanks, bombs and men in uniforms are sent to a diametrically opposing culture (to further their own economic schema) under the guise of implementing egalitarianism and bringing democracy. But then you and I are in concurrence with this thought and so I have no argument with you: except READ THE BOOK Three Cups of Tea!

Posted by Ash on 01/14/2008 at 7:08 PM

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