Monday, July 10, 2006
Three Cups of Tea
I’m reading a book right now (What? An English Major reading a book? Say it isn’t so...) Yes, I’m reading a book right now titled: “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and David Relin. It’s about Greg Mortenson and his quest to build schools, mainly for girls, in Pakistan. So far, I’m only about 100 pages into it (I only started the read on Saturday) but it has really changed the way I look at that region of the world.
Ever since 9/11, I (I’m sure like many Americans) have looked upon Muslims with a little more than suspicion, bordering on contempt and hate. (I’m not too proud to admit that.) I’ve even gone so far as to look into buying gun oil made from pork fat, so that if I ever have to shoot one, (God forbid) I’d make sure that he didn’t go to heaven.
But this book has made me want to re-examine my beliefs.
In the book Mortenson describes people, Muslims, who have gone out of their way to help him in his quest. A hotel bell-hop who became his “goffer,” without being asked to do so. The truck drivers and porters who have transported materials over roads that barely deserve the name.
It has shown me that there is good in the world, even, in the Muslim world.
Contrast that with the hundreds of letters Mortenson wrote to wealthy, and influential Americans like Oprah Winfrey and Susan Sarandon (580 letters in all) asking for help in building his first school in the mountain village of Korphe. Every one of those letters went unread or ignored by every person except Tom Brokaw, who sent him a whopping $100 and a good luck letter.
Makes me wonder who, exactly, the better people are. There are wackos everywhere, and I’m sure that I have been wrong to pigeonhole all of the Muslims based on the acts of a vast minority of wackos.
Read the book. It’s a great one.