Three Cups Of Tea Essay
When mountaineer Greg Mortenson first encountered the people of rural Pakistan, he was easily able to recognize the problems they faced every day. The people were isolated, embattled, impoverished, malnourished and exploited. But what shocked Greg the most was that most people did not have the opportunity to receive an education. The memoir Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Relin describe Mortenson’s struggle to bring education and empowerment to the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
While it was easy for Greg to identify the problems of life in the Middle East, the leaders and public Western Hemisphere ignores them. For years, the relationships between Western society and the Middle East have been characterized by suspicion and stereotypes. The Middle East has often been depicted as a primitive land of warfare and violence. The graphic images of the newsreels often replace reality and thus ruin the public perception of the people in the Middle East. In the book Three Cups of Tea, author Greg Mortenson challenges the ideas, attitudes, and images associated with the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In order to gain support for his cause, Mortenson uses pathos and imagery as rhetorical devices to humanize the misrepresented people of the Middle East. While it is an inspirational book, Greg Mortenson wrote Three Cups of Tea for a specific reason. Mortenson uses his memoir as a tool to gain support for his charity organization and humanitarian mission. Mortenson is trying to gain sympathy from Western society for the plight of the impoverished in the Middle East. In order for Mortenson to continue his mission to build schools for destitute children, he needs financial support.
Due to a wide cultural divide and hostile political conflict, it is difficult for Westerners to assist or emphasize with the problems of Middle Easterners. This book was needed to give the misunderstood people of the Middle Eastern region a voice in the Western world. As of late, the United States has been trying to spread democracy and peace to its Middle Eastern adversaries through the barrel of a gun. However, as humanitarian Greg Mortenson explains, it is counterproductive to combat terrorism with force and violence.
Only nternational compassion, education, and cooperation can bring peace. Greg Mortenson believes that by building schools for poverty stricken areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan will prevent students from attending extremist Islamic schools know as Madrassas. This will play a major role in eliminating global terrorism and establishing peace. Co-author David Relin notes that “Mortenson goes to war with the roots causes of terror every time he offers a student a chance to receive a balanced education rather than attend an extremist madrassa (Relin, 5). However, educating the world about the truth of Middle Eastern society and life is just as important.
With this memoir, Westerners can look past their animosity, prejudices, and false judgments and truly understand the Middle East. As quoted by mountaineer Sir Edmund Hilary, “Slowly and painfully we are seeing worldwide acceptance of the fact the wealthier and more technologically advanced countries have a responsibility to help the underdeveloped ones. ” (53). Through the media in America, we are all constantly reminded of the enemies and conflicts that our nation has.
Images of a hostile landscape, turbaned terrorists, dying American soldiers, and armed militants on the news have caused the public to generalize Middle Eastern people and assume that they are violent by nature. Westerners associate these negative images with the entire Middle Eastern society. With these assumptions, Western society has judged, and thus condemned the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and is unsympathetic to their hardships. The attacks of September 11th 2001, has only validated and expanded negative and hostile attitudes towards the Middle East.
As Mortenson notes, “Many Americans think that ‘Muslim’ is just another way of saying ‘terrorist”. In his essay, Mortenson attempts to repair the Western perception of the Middle East by describing his personal experiences and interactions with Afghan and Pakistani people. In effect, with Three Cups of Tea, Mortenson attempts to humanize Middle Easterners and portray them as victims rather than villains. Mortenson emphasized creating lasting relationships with the local people and was accepting of their beliefs, traditions, and culture.
By learning and working with people, Mortenson was able to find success and break down cultural barriers. According to the Central Asia Institute (CAI) website, “It is important to listen and learn from the local communities served, rather than impose external evaluations or judgment of what is best from an outsider’s perspective. ” In the memoir, it is the description of Mortenson’s relationships with the locals that humanize the misunderstood Middle Easterners. They appeal to the audience’s sense of ethos because they legitimize Greg Mortenson’s claims and explain how he has developed his attitude towards the subject.
Mortenson uses several literary techniques to gain the sympathy of his readers for his cause. In the beginning of the book, Mortenson vividly recalls how children of local villages gathered together outside in the cold and sat silently while attempting to learn. They lacked shelter, supplies, and a teacher. The imagery of underprivileged children is a profound one in Western society. Children are seen as symbols of righteousness and innocence in the world. By describing the hardships of children in Pakistan, Mortenson evoked emotion from his audience and caused them to sympathize with his cause.
Greg As Mortenson soon realized during his work in Pakistan, “there was much in this part of the world that he barely understood (Relin 74). ” Greg learned that his preconceived ideas about Islamic and Middle Eastern life were incorrect. While the Balti people were uneducated and isolated from the outside world, they taught Greg Mortenson many valuable lessons about life. Because Greg opened himself to the differences of another culture, he was able to learn, grow, and improve as an individual.