Three Cups of Tea update

Three Cups of Tea

The uproar over Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, continues.

The most complete collection of articles and posts written in response to the allegations of wrongdoing raised first by CBS’ 60 Minutes and, in greater detail, by former supporter and author Jon Krakauer’s Three Cups of Deceit can be found at the blog Good Intentions are Not Enough.

I won’t try to summarize the debate at this point, but I did want to take note of a few articles that I think raise some good points about our desire for the “heroic narrative” in humanitarian causes.

I wrote about this last week, in a post asking if this would be a teachable moment, and spoke to KUOW’s Steve Scher on Weekday about the danger so common in DIY aid of even well-intended people conflating their own personal success, as a leader, with the success of the mission.

Here are some more articles along similar lines:

The New Yorker: What Greg Mortenson Got Wrong

Alex Stonehill, Common Language Project: Greg Mortenson and Leadership Narrative Lies

The Guardian: Greg Mortenson’s Flawed One-Man Mission in Pakistan

Forbes: Doing Good is Hard Work

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About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.

  • Terry

    Leadership narrative lies, what a beautiful scary term….I think of Churchill, FDR, Bush II, the list goes on and on…confabulation allowed due to the role played…parental narrative lies? priest narrative lies? lover narrative lies? nobody knows anything of truth….i was going to say except what is in one’s head but DESPITE what is in one’s head…

    • Amirkhanwali

      Greg Mortenson, unfortunately
      has come under a heavy criticism. We appreciate his work in Pakistan
      and we are witness his work. He has opened school in places where government of
      Pakistan could
      not reach in this century. This criticism was based on un researched findings.
      There much should have been seen before ‘60minitus’ and one cannot cover a
      whole life efforts in 60minitus.

      Even after ‘60minitus’
      many other books and studies came. But all were based on un-researched
      information. However, there are still questions. We, The Education Watch Pakistan,
      Pakistan’s
      every first and widely circulated educational newspaper planning to study CAI
      schools in detail. If anyone wants to join us for this study, welcome.

      Amir Wali Khan

      Chief Editor

      The Education Watch Pakistan

      http://www.theeducationwatchpakistan.org
             

  • You know the scapegoat process?
    It is quite easy to put down one relatively small organization and one individual but what about real scandals taking place within much bigger and powerful organizations?
    Just think about a few really big foundations? Do you really think all they are doing is “perfect”? But who dares reporting about their ‘mistakes”?
    Who holds them accountable?
    There are also all the bad deeds from megacorporations and big government.
    Are they seriously investigated and reported about? I don’t think so.
    The French poet La Fontaine wrote this interesting story “les animaux malades de la peste”, where all the powerful animals get exempted and the donkey gets killed, “haro sur le baudet”.
    Present media and commentators seem very adept at choosing certain targets and exempting others.
    I am not saying there is nothing to be concerned about 3 cups of tea but could it be a tempest in a cup of tea that conveniently exempts the “diligent” investigators to report about much bigger problems and issues?
    There is something disturbing about media lynching and all the people who suddenly become virtuous prosecutors. What do they really know? I heard people “commenting” while they did not know anything about the person, the work done or not done, it was all hearsay, should I write BS?
    Who profits from this lynching?
    How many people howl with the wolves without any serious basis for doing it?
    Don’t you feel slightly nauseous?
    I do.

  • Amirkhanwali

    Greg Mortenson, unfortunately
    has come under a heavy criticism. We appreciate his work in Pakistan
    and we are witness his work. He has opened school in places where government of
    Pakistan could
    not reach in this century. This criticism was based on un researched findings.
    There much should have been seen before ‘60minitus’ and one cannot cover a
    whole life efforts in 60minitus.

    Even after ‘60minitus’
    many other books and studies came. But all were based on un-researched
    information. However, there are still questions. We, The Education Watch Pakistan,
    Pakistan’s
    every first and widely circulated educational newspaper planning to study CAI
    schools in detail. If anyone wants to join us for this study, welcome.

    Amir Wali Khan

    Chief Editor

    The Education Watch Pakistan

    http://www.theeducationwatchpakistan.org