While I watched the 60 Minute piece on Greg Mortensen, his book “Three Cups of Tea” and his Central Asia Institute, an organization that builds schools in Afghanistan, I had a very uneasy feeling. I’m a big fan of 60 Minutes, but as little as I know about Greg Mortensen the piece seemed to be a fishing expedition – with smelly fish at the tackle.
I kept thinking: don’t you have bigger fish to fry? So Mortensen took some liberties with his book (big deal) and there are allegations (no proof from what I can tell) that there are irregularities in the books of his charity. REALLY? This man has built many schools for Afghan children, has put many girls back to school and has had the guts to try and fix from the inside with little means. And you go after him? I can think of a hundred stinky other stories that are more deserving of 60 Minute scrutiny.
My friend Martina Radwan who started a wonderful organization “Children of the Blue Sky” talks about the Mortensen ‘affair’ from her point of view as an activist, visionary and executive director of her own organization: check it out.
And while you’re at it read what Nicholas Kristof has to say about Greg Mortensen in his op-ed in the Seattle Times of last week just after the 60 Minute piece aired. As always he keeps a wonderful balance between facts and questions and his description of the ‘real’ Greg Mortensen is quite charming.
Don’t go and punish the wrong guy and as Martina said: if you are going the throw the first stone think long and hard as to how big it is going to be and where it will land. I for one will throw now stones but blow some fresh air gently into Greg Mortensen’s corner and hope we will see more of his great advocacy work to come.