Friday, April 22, 2011

David's Response

Guest Blogger Alert! My husband David responds to yesterday's blog and the Three Cups of Tea/ Central Asia Institute scandal. Thank you for taking the time and energy to do this D!

Without a doubt, Afghanistan and Pakistan are better places as a result of Greg Mortenson’s efforts there. As a proponent of Mortenson’s thesis that terrorism is best eradicated by creating balanced world views through education I see only a positive world benefit if the Central Asia Institue continues along its present course of school construction in communities where terrorist thinking tends to incubate. However, I also believe that the alleged fiscal liberties Mortenson took while head of the Institute, should they prove true, have hurt the greater cause of humanitarianism.  

Mortenson’s efforts benefited the members of the communities where the schools were built but also softened third world nations’ views of Western democracies’ efforts to improve life in those countries.  The most damaging repercussion of Mortenson’s actions is the reinforcement of the belief that we, as Westerers, are not sincere in our efforts to help; that without the possibility of a financial windfall or some other personal (or national) gain we would have never offered it in the first place - exactly the type of thinking the schools' are purporting to address.

For those of us who contribute to humanitarian causes, if Mortenson is not someone we can believe in, then who is? In the wake of the financial scandals resulting from the Great Recession, the Enron debacle, the golden parachutes handed out to CEOs for driving their companies’ into the ground, and every other very public and unethical hot-button financial scandal that has been regurgitated again and again on the Internet and 24 hour news outlets in the last decade, it is becoming more difficult to find people in visible positions that we can firmly stand behind without waiting for the proverbial balloon to pop. 

Additionally, ask yourself if this story will make people more or less inclined to open their wallets to ANY humanitarian cause. If we are unable to trust the individuals responsible for administering the cause then how can we put our faith in the cause itself?

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