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Mortenson - Three Cups of Tea (2006) - Synopsis

Mortenson - Three Cups of Tea (2006) - Synopsis

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Published by Mark K. Jensen
Synopsis of Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time (New York, Toronto, and London: Penguin, 2007); original edition 2006. -- Discussed at Digging Deeper (www.ufppc.org) on March 8, 2010.
Synopsis of Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time (New York, Toronto, and London: Penguin, 2007); original edition 2006. -- Discussed at Digging Deeper (www.ufppc.org) on March 8, 2010.

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UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) — Digging Deeper CXVI: March 8, 2010, 7:00 p.m. 
Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin,
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Missionto Promote Peace... One School at a Time
(New York, Toronto, andLondon: Penguin, 2007); original edition 2006 (subtitled
One Man'sMission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations
).
[
Thesis.
Promotion of education is thebest way to counter terrorism, and "[i]f you believe in yourself, you canaccomplish anything" (38).]
Introduction: In Mr. Mortenson'sOrbit, by David Oliver Relin.
Relinovercame skepticism about Mortenson; "Iwrote the story. But Greg Mortensonlived it" (5; 1-5).
Ch. 1: Failure.
Mortenson fails to reachthe summit of K2 in 1993, a projectundertaken in memory of a belovedsister, because he participated in theevacuation of a French climber (7-16).
Ch. 2: The Wrong Side of the River.
Gets separated from his Balti guideMouzafer and wanders into the village of Korphe (17-26).
Ch. 3: "Progress and Perfection."
Mortenson returns feels "somethingtugging him back up" to "something rarein Korphe" and, moved by the sight of children studying without a teacher,vows to build a school (29; 27-33).
Ch. 4: Self-Storage.
Youth in Tanzania;high school and college in the U.S.;devotion to family and mountaineering; adecision to dedicate a K2 climb "to [hissister's] Christa's memory" (34-46).
Ch. 5: 580 Letters, One Check.
Earlyfundraising and falling in love; Swiss-born Jean Hoerni IT millionaire contributes fullcost of school ($12,000) (47-56).
Ch. 6: Rawalpindi's Rooftops atDusk.
Abdul, former expedition memberin Rawalpindi, helps with bargaining formaterials; Mortenson learns to pray toAllah (57-69).
Ch. 7: Hard Way Home.
Loads truckand takes Karakoram Highway into themountains (70-82).
Ch. 8: Beaten by the Braldu.
Evadesattempt by other villagers to requisitionhis materials, reaches Korphe, and learnsthat a bridge has to be built before thesupplies can reach the town (83-97).
Ch. 9: The People Have Spoken.
Back in the Bay Area, his girl frienddumps him, but another climber (Dr.Louis Reichardt) bucks up his morale (98-107).
Ch. 10: Building Bridges.
Ordersmaterials for bridge (108-10). Headingback to Korphe, wonders if a bridge willspoil Korphe's "purity" (112; 110-14). Joins ibex hunting party (114-19). 284-ft.bridge completed (119-24).
Ch. 11: Six Days.
Girl friend tries toreturn but is rejected (125-26). On Sept.13, 1995, George McCown, gives him$20,000 for himself as he attendsbanquet where Sir Edmund Hillarylectures and meets Tara Bishop (126-33). They marry six days later (133-35).
Ch. 12: Haji Ali's Lesson.
Mortensonrecovers "about two-thirds" of hisbuilding materials in Skardu (136-38).Begins building the school, but Haji Ali,the
nurmadhar 
of Korphe, slows himdown with this: "If you want to thrive inBaltistan, you must respect our ways. . . . The first time you share tea with a Balti,you are a stranger. The second time youtake tea, you are an honored guest. The
 
third time you share a cup of tea, youbecome family, and for our family, weare prepared to do anything, evendie. . . . Doctor Greg, you must take timeto share three cups of tea"—"the mostimportant lesson I've ever learned in mylife" (150; 138-51). After he defendsMortenson as "a better Muslim than you"before a local warlord who wants toforbid the construction of the school, HajiAli pays the demanded bribe of HajiMehdi,
nurmadhar 
of nearby Askole, asthe price for allowing the building of a
kafir 
('infidel') school (152; 151-53).
Ch. 13: "A Smile Should Be MoreThan a Memory."
Visiting Waziristan,south of Peshawar, as director of the"Central Asia Institute" set up by JeanHoerni (see 146), Mortenson is detainedfor eight days by Waziris, then releasedand given encouragement to build moreschools (154-73).
Ch. 14: Equilibrium.
Birth of AmiraEliana Mortenson on Sept. 13, 1996 (174-76). School completed in time for JeanHoerni to see a picture of it before hedies of leukemia (176-83).
Ch. 15: Mortenson in Motion.
Hoernileaves Mortenson money his will (184-85). Mortenson goes to Pakistan to dealwith a
fatwa
issued against him, plans formore schools (185-90). Syed Abbas, aShia scholar, supports Mortenson (190-93). Dedication of the school in Korphein August 1997 (193-97).
Ch. 16: Red Velvet Box.
The
fatwa
isdisposed of by "the blessing of thehightest
mufti
in Iran" (200; 198-200).Syed Abbas works with Mortenson;eleven more schools built; Mortenson'sreputation in Pakistan grows (200-10).
Ch. 17: Cherry Trees in the Sand.
Fighting over Kashmir leads Mortenson toget involved in an "uplift water scheme"to bring water to mountain village of Brolmo (211-24).
Ch. 18: Shrouded Figure.
Vagaries of fundraising (225-33). Studiesdevelopment; visits Amartya Sen andMother Theresa (233-37). Frustration as Taliban take over Afghanistan (237-39).Birth in 2000 of son, Khyber BishopMortenson (239-40).
Ch. 19: A Village Called New York.
Inthe spring of 2001, Mortenson noticesthe rapid growth of Saudi-financed
madrassas
on the rise in Pakistan,brainwashing students (241-45). Afterhis coup, Musharraf supports the CAI(245-46). Assassination of Massoud(246-47). Sept. 11 finds him being fêtedin Zuudkhan, Pakistan (247-56).Mortenson feels the importance of rededicating himself to education (256-60).
Ch. 20: Tea with the Taliban.
InIslamabad, a media circus; Mortenson isinterviewed (261-66). Mortenson has teawith Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Talibanambassador (266-68). Tells Bruce Finleyof the
Denver Post 
that education is thebest way to fight terrorism (268).Interrogated by American agents (269-72). Stays in Pakistan until late October(272-74). Back in the U.S., Mortensonspeaks at Seattle Town Hall on Nov. 1,2001 (274-77).
Ch. 21: Rumsfeld's Shoes.
Mortensonsupported the U.S. war in Afghanistan atfirst but then began to protest civiliancasualties (278-79). He is taken up byMary Bono (R-CA 45th) [since 2007, MaryBono Mack] (280-81; 290-92). Travelstwice inside Afghanistan; is distressed tosee much U.S. military, no sign of aid(281-90). Invited to speak to militaryofficers at the Pentagon; is offeredsupport but decides "my credibility inthat part of the world depended on menot being associated with the Americangovernment" (295; 293-96).
 
Ch. 22: "The Enemy Is Ignorance."
Kevin Fedarko's
Parade
cover story onApr. 6, 2003, makes Mortenson famous;he becomes "a real American hero," inthe words of 
Parade
editor-in-chief LeeKravitz (297-301). He hires a mediaconsultant (301-04). Mortenson is ableto expand operations in Pakistan, wherehe enjoys official support (304-11). Thestory of Jahan, an exemplary student(299-301, 311-13).
Ch. 23: Stones into Schools.
MeetsZahir Shah, former king of Afghanistan,who mentions Sadhar Khan, a
mujahid 
inthe Wakhan (remote NE Afghanistan)(314-16). Risky trip; Mortenson findsKhan, who embraces his vision: "Wemust turn these stones into schools"(330; 316-30).
Afterword.
"As of 2009, [Mortenson]had established eighty-one schools,including fifteen new schools inAfghanistan, and additional schools inregions of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, thatwere devastated in a 2005 earthquake.
Three Cups of Tea
has been a freshman,honors, or campus-wide required readingselection in over eighty universities andhundreds of schools. It is also requiredreading for senior U.S. militarycommanders, Pentagon officers incounter-insurgency training, and SpecialForces deploying to Afghanistan. Morethan two hundred communities haveused
Three Cups of Tea
as a 'One Book'common read, and it is being publishedin over thirty-one countries. In March2009, Pakistan's government presentedGreg Mortenson with its highest civilianaward, the
Sitara-e-Pakistan
(Star of Pakistan)" (332).
Acknowledgments.
By Mortenson(333-35). By Relin (335-37). Ninesuggestions for "how to help" (337-38),concluding with contact information:Central Asia Institute/P.O. Box 7209,Bozeman, MT 59771, 406-585-7841,www.ikat.org
Index.
11 pp.
About the Authors.
 
Greg Mortenson
is a "former mountaineer and militaryveteran" who is director of the CentralAsia Institute. He lives in Montana withhis wife and two children but "spendsseveral months each year builidngschools in Pakistan and Afghanistan"([v]).
David Oliver Relin
is a journalistwho has taught at the Iowa Writers'Workshop.[
Additional information. GregMortenson
was born on Dec. 27, 1957.He grew up in Africa with Lutheranparents from Minnesota, his father amissionary and his mother a doctor in Tanzania, returning to the U.S. for highschool. He served in the U.S. Army from1975 to 1977 as a medic, then attendedConcordia College and graduated fromthe U. of S. Dakota with an associatedegree in nursing and a bachelor'sdegree in chemistry. After building aschool in Korphe, Pakistan, in gratitudefor help after a mountain-climbingexpedition in 1993, his Central AsiaInstitute has built 130 more schools inrural Pakistan and Afghanistan.Mortenson's book has been read andendorsed by Adm. Mike Mullen, chairmanof the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. DavidPetraeus, CENTCOM commander, Adm.Eric Olson, SOCOM commander, and Gen.McKiernan, former ISAF commander inAfghanistan, and Mortenson has spokenat SOCOM, MARSOC, NORAD, the NavalWar College, the Naval PostgraduateSchool, and the Naval Air Command, hasvisited all the nation's militaryacademices, and has met with Secretaryof Defense Robert Gates, Gen. StanleyMcChrystal, ISAF commander inAfghanistan, and Maj. Gen. JohnMacdonald, his deputy commander.Mortenson annually visits "about one totwo dozen military bases" in Afghanistan"without charge or hnorarium to helptroops deploying to Afghanistan

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