Recently, I watched an episode of 60 Minutes which revealed that Three Cups of Tea author and keynote speaker Greg Mortenson had fabricated parts of his books and misused some of the charity money he had raised over the years to build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I want to believe that there is a perfectly logical explanation for all of this ( Three Cups of Tea is one of my favorite books) but I must admit, it looked bad for Mortenson when he tried to skittle away from 60 Minutes’Steve Kroft at a book signing. Mortenson later said that he thought Kroft was a suicide bomber. Really??? Could you not think of ANYTHING else? What part of “Hi I’m Steve Kroft. I’d like to talk to you. Do you have five minutes?” sounds like the crazy rantings of a suicide bomber??? Who’s your PR agent, Bernie Madoff?
Seriously, I want to believe that Greg Mortenson is innocent but it just looks bad.
Three Cups of Tea tells the story of how Mortenson, as a young mountain climber became separated and lost from his team while descending K2 in Pakistan. He was greeted and cared for by a small village of people. To repay them for their hospitality, Mortenson vowed that he would come back one day and build a school for them. Difficult at first, Mortenson raised the money and built one, then two, then 55 schools in the Taliban region. Mortenson did what the American military couldn’t. He took back the territories from the Taliban by educating the children (especially girls, who prior to Mortenson’s arrival were not allowed to be educated.) He did this one village at a time. Who knows what happened along the way?
You can’t deny that good was done but when you see kids around the world emptying out their piggybanks to help Mortenson’s cause, even one penny misused is just wrong and sadly,  taints the entire project.