It’s Yours

I just finished reading Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace. . . One School at a Time. I was incredibly moved by Greg Mortenson’s quest to bring education to children, particularly girls, in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I heard a quote once that went something like, “If you see a problem, it’s yours.” I’m not sure who said it but I think if more people took a pro-active role in solving problems, the world would be better off. Mortenson’s work reminds me that one person CAN make a difference.

Here’s a scene from the final chapters of the book:

Bashir {a Brigadier General} paused to watch a live CNN feed from Baghdad. Staring at the small video window inset into the flight manifests scrolling down his monitor, Bashir was struck silent by the images of wailing Iraqi women carrying children’s bodies out of the rubble of a bombed building.

As he studied the screen, Bashir’s bullish shoulders slumped. “People like me are America’s best friends in the region,” Bashir said at last, shaking his head ruefully. “I’m a moderate Muslim, an educated man. But watching this, even I could become a jihadi. How can Americans say they are making themselves safer?” Bashir asked, struggling not to direct his anger toward the large American target on the other side of his desk. “Your President Bush has done a wonderful job of uniting one billion Muslims against America for the next two hundred years.”

“Osama had something to do with it, too,” Mortenson said.

“Osama, baah!” Bashir roared. “Osama is not a product of Pakistan or Afghanistan. He is a creation of America. Thanks to America, Osama is in every home. As a military man, I know you can never fight and win against someone who can shoot at you once and then run off and hide while you have to remain eternally on guard. You have to attack the source of your enemy’s strength. In America’s case, that’s not Osama or Saddam or anyone else. The enemy is ignorance. The only way to defeat it is to build relationships with these people, to draw them into the modern world with education and business. Otherwise the fight will go on forever.”

Today is a day where we pause to remember that horrible day seven years ago. I think of all the lives lost, here and overseas. I think of families living without a loved one. I think of what it means to be “an American.” I think of my part in all of it and how I, one person, can make a difference.

And I hold out hope that some how, some way, some day we will come to know peace.

* * * * * * * *

If you would like to learn more about Mortenson’s work or to donate, please visit his website.

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39 thoughts on “It’s Yours

  1. I can alwasy clearly recall the morning of 9/11. A friend in Australia called me to make sure I ws okay and that’s when I turned on me TV. I hung up on Bob, he got over it. I couldn’t stop crying for months afterwards and even find myself so solemn on each anniversary. I miss my child terribly right now. I just want to hug her forever.

  2. I work with a man who left Iraq several years ago. He lost his brother last year, who was aiding the US and was shot by jahadi. It’s a whole different perspective from the people actually living this. Good thoughts.

  3. I think it’s honorable to remember those who gave their lives, willingly or unwillingly, in the name or defense of our freedom.

    Not sure I understand “America created Osama” when his fundamental beliefs are that infidels (anyone who is not Muslim, such as US, Isreal, Jordan) must be driven out, killed, removed from earth (depending on translation).

    If America supports Isreal, Osama wants to kill us. If America supports Saudi Arabia at their invitation after Iraq invaded Kuwait, Osama wants to kill us. If America continues it’s capitalistic ways, Osama wants to kill us.

    America = support, help, and capitalism. Osama wants to kill us for that.

    I guess you could say we created him, much like a family having food on the table created thieves to take it away from them.

  4. {weepy}

    Ignorance is going to be the downfall of our society. We are becoming so naiive and easily swayed. We have access to more information than EVER and yet…we’re dumber than ever.

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