Hello... 60 Minutes? Since when did it become OK to slander and discredit a person who has dedicated his life to serving others? I have known Greg Mortenson for almost 10 years and thanks to our friendship and the hard work of two wonderful ladies, plus countless others, we were able to host him here in Bend last year.
As the story about Greg aired, I actually began to think I was on the wrong channel, watching some horrid Dateline show and not the 60 Minutes I have watched and respected for years. What reporter takes one year's [worth of] tax information out of an 18-year-old nonprofit to make some sort of point? Even the IRS takes three years. What's up with that? Also, what reporter does not look into the actual book revenues and royalty agreements, and instead portrays a humanitarian as a book-selling, greed monger?
Greg is not the author! He is the subject, for which he receives pennies in royalties on the book. I asked him once, "Why doesn't some of the revenue from the book Three Cups of Tea go to the CAI (Central Asia Institute)" and he made it clear that it was the author's decision. All those book signing tours, speaking engagements (some of which he was so weak from his heart condition that he was on oxygen up until the minute he walked on stage - Bend included!) were all to spread understanding of what educating girls in these areas meant toward peace and understanding—not to sell more books!
What does it mean? Here's an example. One time, over coffee, Greg shared with me that [in order] to undertake any attack, the Taliban believe that you must have your mother's blessing or it is forbidden. The 9/11 suicide bombers were able to receive this necessary blessing from their mothers because they were unable to read the Koran for themselves. Wow, that's what it means—and that's just one example! There's a reason why the book is mandatory reading at the Pentagon, schools and many other places.
Greg is known for his discomfort with all the attention. I know he would have done everything he could to build these schools, books or no books, and never once intended to dupe the American public in any way, as 60 Minutes insinuated. Shameless! Greg is the first to acknowledge that his nonprofit was completely unprepared for the level of support and requests that they received after Three Cups of Tea shot to the top of the bestseller’s list.
It seems to me that the internal chaos that resulted from CAI's growth became the basis for the 60 Minutes show, while purposely leaving out the personal attacks, crank calls, and death threats he and his family receive because of this work. I thought it was also particularly misleading for 60 Minutes to show a large fancy building where CAI rents a modest office. Ahhh, the whole thing left me with a really bad taste in my mouth, and I hope people will go to Greg's website www.ikat.org and see his answers for themselves. Bendites rest easy. Know that your support of CAI is one that we, and the children of our community, can all continue to stand behind.
Unfortunately, taking down a hero is a better story than taking down a reporter on 60 Minutes. And Krakauer? WTF?