International trips are a chance to read. What better way to pass layover time between flights.
Like I said in a previous post, education has been a recurring theme. After the incident with my cousins, I read Three Cups of Tea.
Very often we look for bandage solutions, not going to the root of a problem. This book beautifully speaks of how peace cannot be achieved through coercion and arms, but requires a long-term effort that is based on non-violence and co-operation. How? Through education. It is well-established that madrassas promoting extremist Islamic ideas are the breeding grounds for future Taliban fighters. For every one that is killed, two more appear in his place.
I initially tried to write my own “review” or take on the book, but words came out all jumbled together. I think the comments of Ahmed Rashid, the author of Taliban: Militant Islam and Oil in Central Asia and Descent Into Chaos succinctly summarize. If you’re looking for a book to read, consider this one.
“Three Cups of Tea is beautifully written. It is also a critically important book at this time in history. The governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan are both failing their students on a massive scale. The work Mortenson is doing, providing the poorest students with a balanced education, is making them much more difficult for the extremist madrassas to recruit.”
To add to his comments; sitting in the West, we can easily speak of removing terrorism, but Greg through his schools in actually doing that. In way that is sustainable in the long-term and heals old wounds and misconceptions.
This book perfectly highlights the power of education. It has the power of create a terrorist or a peace-maker.
Before I left London, I received Tuesdays with Morrie. GREAT book and exactly what I needed, especially in conjunction with the Power of Now, which is a challenging read in that you have to read it in bits and pieces.
I tore through Tuesdays, cover to cover. When I finished, I noticed something that I’ve been noticing alot recently: my lack of full attentiveness to what I was reading. I read quickly, it could be called skim reading even. I take the gist of the what I’m reading, but don’t really reflect or take time to digest what I’m reading. Not a big deal for books like Da Vinci Code and other fiction pleasure reads. But for a book like Siddharta or Power of Now, its absolutely crucial to take the time to read carefully. As I read through Tuesday, halfway through, I though it would be beneficial to write down the important ideas, so I did. I found myself reading a little more carefully. When I finished, it was time to change something. I picked up the book again and actually read it. Taking the time to reflect. I continued writing down the important ideas. Now unlike Siddharta, which I feel like i need to read again, when Tuesdays gets passed on, I’ll have taken all that I can from it.
One of the tuesdays was about family. I found this lesson particularly interesting and in fact had to put the book down to think/reflect on the comments. One of the important comments that Morrie makes is in regards to family vs friends. (Paraphrased) Family is the foundation. Friends will visit and call (when you are sick), but with family, someone will always be watching over you.
Today, I experienced that first hand.
After apparently having a slight temperature for over 1 week (I knew I had a temp one day in London, but after that day I was doing alright, but since I met up with mom, she’s been saying that I am warm), I got “sick”. I didn’t have much energy and couldn’t bring myself to consume any food. Things are better now and hopefully I’ll be 100% before I get into the car in Haridwar, otherwise the windy roads are going to be painful. But I digress. Since the moment my family found out I was ill, they have continually been watching over me. Eat this, don’t do this, let’s go to the doctor. I actually think its a good thing i fell ill today rather than later. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who are making all efforts to make sure I get better. When the solo adventures begin, things will not be the same. Morrie is right.
Family. The people who will continually be watching over you (whether you’re sick or not).