tpg: Spent the evening with some of the members of The Bad Girls Book Club; had a delicious and healthy meal at The Golden Fish and then listened to author, humanitarian and the man I want for President in 2012, Greg Mortenson speak to a crowd of close to 1,500! Three Cups of Tea has been read by all the military generals, many of our legislators and is now a required reading of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Wow. Not bad for a guy who simply wanted to climb a mountain, failed to reach the top, got lost in the boonies of Afghanistan, and decided to build a school for the girls in a remote village.
GM: The first word in the revelation of the Koran was “Iqra”, which means “to read”. What Allah said is that we should seek truth and get an education. I have talked to imams (person of leadership position) and nothing in the Koran says that girls can’t go to school. I would say that in the Hadith (teachings of the Prophet), it says that the ink of the scholar is greater than the blood of a shaheed (martyr).
tpg: General David Petraeus did read the book. (After his wife placed it on his nightstand with a post-it that said "Read before any military articles.") Petraeus said that he got three "bullet points" (Pun intended.) from the book: *listen more, *respect, and *build relationships. Personally, this seems a bit like simple common sense, but hey, I'm just a girl from a trailer park on the bad side of town... What do I know?
GM: The Lesson? People can be empowered. We are driven to help people, but it is necessary to empower people. There is a substantial difference between helping and empowering.
tpg: Amen brother! Same holds true here at the park...
GM: You need "local buy-in" for projects. The Taliban and other warrior groups tend to be reluctant to bomb a school they built themselves or that has very strong local support.
tpg: Makes sense! The Taliban does not wish to make another enemy by pissing off a village after blowing up their school! Speaking of pissing off, this may piss off my large, ever-growing male fan base, but Greg also said this...
GM: If you educate a boy, you educate an individual. Educate a girl, you educate the community.
Educating a girl also means you can reduce the population explosion and reduce the infant girl mortality rate. In Pakistan, they use less than 2% of their GDP for education. There is no national initiative to educate all children. Meanwhile, the Taliban bombs about 3 schools a day in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Taliban fears the idea of the "ink of the scholar is mightier than the blood of martyrs."
In the end, it is the tenacity of mothers who send their daughters to schools, often risking their lives to do so.
Education is the long term solution to terrorism because the Taliban recruits in the most illiterate areas, so the recruits are then more easily indoctrinated.
tpg: Greg when is the Grand Opening of your Campaign Headquarters? Sign me up. I have oodles of free time; well, in between the "septic tank over-flows", fire-lane parking violations, chasing rabid dogs, and serving the 3/60's to the residents that can't pay their rent...I am free to not only volunteer but lead your campaign for President of the United States of America in 2012!
We all should "fail" at climbing a mountain just once to see what our own potential might be..
To read more about Greg Mortenson,please check-out his blog at