Monday, April 25

Three Cups of Spoiled Tea

He made millions from his book and speaking engagements he traveled by private jet- was lauded for his charitable work helping to build schools in Afghanistan. Then a recent 60 minutes story exposed Greg Mortenson author of “Three cups of tea” as a fraud. Among other things he made up the story about him being nursed back to health from the brink of death by kind Afghan villagers.

What a shame.

I really admired Mortenson’s intentions and I don't think he fabricated events in his book with the intent to deceive per se. Perhaps felt he had to over dramatize his experience in order to make his cause more appealing and attractive. After all, we’ve all heard stories of poor, destitute people in need of help and we shrug.

Greg Mortenson became a victim of his own spin. In his attempt to gain our sympathy for these people with a story that would pry us out of our cynicism, he lost sight of the truth. He began to believe he was the hero of the tale not the Afghanis who are exhausted after more than 30 years of war that has reduced the country to rubble. They got no assistance from a corrupt government or the Taliban trying to crush what was left of their culture.

Then along comes a westerner who wasn’t trying to complete the rape of their culture but wanted to rebuild it. People in America opened their checkbooks and gave to his charity, bought his books, listened to his speeches and now wonder how much of it was a lie, how much of the money they freely gave in good conscious is going to build schools or going into Mortenson’s pocket.

If he wants to redeem himself and salvage the good he’s done and he has done good- he needs to be honest with himself and us before another child in Afghanistan can be rescued.

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