The front page of this Sunday’s NYTimes features an article by Elizabeth Bumiller titled, “Unlikely Tutor Giving Military Afghan Advice.” Bumiller tells how U.S. Military commanders in Afghanistan are turning for advice to Greg Mortenson, author of the bestseller, Three Cups of Tea, which if you haven’t yet read, should definitely go on your reading list.
What the headline doesn’t show, but the article reveals, is that this significant developing situation involving high powered, high profile men and impacting military strategies in a major international war is profoundly influenced by women and girls—in a word, ezers!
The article reports that Mortenson and his Central Asia Institute are credited with constructing “more than 130 schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, mostly for girls.” Mortenson is convinced (as are many others, including Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn of Half the Sky, another must-read book) that educating girls is the best way to fight terrorism, reduce poverty, improve child and maternal health, lower mortality rates, combat trafficking, and benefit communities in countless other ways. Mortenson has built his reputation and his career on this thesis. His expertise in understanding, collaborating, and partnering with Afghan tribal leaders (and he tells inspiring stereotype-shattering stories of remarkable Afghan men) that is now so valued by the military has come from his sacrificial and unstoppable advocacy for Afghan girls.
How the military noticed Mortenson in the first place involves ezers too. Their wives were reading Three Cups of Tea in their book clubs and sending copies to their commander husbands, urging them to read it too.
I find so many aspects of this story heartening: the present and potential benefits of educating girls, the influence of women who are willing to speak up, the willingness of men to listen and value what women are saying (how many men—especially those who are fighting a war—will stop to read a book from their wife’s book club?), and the possibility that new, constructive, and peaceful solutions that will benefit all may be introduced into a war that continues daily to cause destruction and the loss of life on both sides.
Especially I love how this story underscores in a variety of ways the importance of and the need for the Blessed Alliance!
What do you think?