Filed under: History
Greg Mortensen, author of Stones into Schools and co-author of Three Cups of Tea, sent out an email today in response to the 60 Minutes show that was about to air. If you’re interested, that email is here in his Message to Supporters. He responds to the written questions exactly as they were given him by the show only late last week, not knowing what they might say on air.Â Hopefully all publicity is good publicity, and if in the end it improves the organization in some way if it needs it, all to the good.
His Central Asia Institute has provided education to 60,000 people so far in remote areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan that previously had no schools or at best, madrassas, and aims particularly to provide opportunities for women; his aim is to build CAI up to the point that it is self-sustaining whether he is in the picture or not.Â Some of the donations that 60 Minutes seemed to be implying he was not spending on the schools, CAI was banking to be able to pay the schools’ ongoing costs into the foreseeable future and to be able to build more schools.
He is having heart surgery this week. I fervently wish him well. The world needs the work of peace and empowerment that he has devoted his life to.
Ed. to add in response to my Dad: I did read the Bozeman Montana paper’s and the New York Times’ stories on him last night, which had quite a bit of criticism; the Bozeman one quotes their reporter, who did not work on that story but has covered Mortenson for years, as saying, “Greg is difficult to work with, he’s stretched too thin, but he is not a liar.” I’ve now read the transcript of the 60 Minutes piece as well as Mortenson’s rebuttals.
If 60 Minutes is right and indeed only 41% of the donations currently go directly to the schools, I would ask: and what percentage of our war dollars in Afghanistan has created a lasting chance towards peace through goodwill and empowerment of the poor and illiterate? Especially, the women? What other game is there in town? I’ll go with Mortenson any day, and if the scrutiny tightens up the financial end, then all to the good.
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