"Three Cups of Tea" Spilled?
Foreign Policy, April 19, 2011
Under the burden of a 60 Minutes exposé on CBS and a blistering, 75-page takedown by adventure writer Jon Krakauer, Greg Mortenson's phenomenally successful weaving together of fact and fiction has already faced more scrutiny than most pop philanthropy ever receives in its entire shelf life. While opinions about Mortenson have always varied within the international development community and among humanitarian workers, that debate never really got a full airing. The ideas and philosophy driving the Three Cups of Tea mania for school-building has become a bit of an orthodoxy. Orthodoxies usually have the effect of muting debate. Pakistanis should know. Pakistan has endured far too much unjustified and illegitimate orthodoxy in its short history. Until the60 Minutes exposé, only the very brave ventured to openly mock Mortenson. The fact that there is now unforgiving scrutiny of every aspect of his two books and the charity that he founded is therefore a wonderful thing.
Many Mortenson sympathizers are perplexed by the strong reaction to the unraveling of Mortenson's elaborate and carefully constructed fables. These sympathizers are not all innocuous middle-aged accountants or bleeding-heart housewives. Some very knowledgeable and clued-in people -- heads of NGOs, education experts, media personalities -- are also confused by the outrage at the little lies Mortenson told to help address a big truth: that girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan need help getting educated. Consider this: In Pakistan, the proportion of rural women who have attended school is one in three. In such dire need, many reasonable people wonder why there is such unmitigated outrage at a few Mortenson fibs.
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Three Cups of Tea Spilled - Nicholas Kristof, NYT
Three Cups of Sincerity - By Nosheen Ali, Express Tribune
Three Cups of Deceit - By John Krakauer
Greg Mortenson responds to '60 Minutes' questions about his 'Three Cups of Tea' story - Los Angeles Times
Book Website: http://www.threecupsoftea.com/