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Friday, April 29, 2011

Marshall sees through sentimental journey

Feminist Peace Network founder Lucinda Marshall’s “Cup of Rancid Tea” puts “savior” Mortenson and his three cups in perspective
Edited excerpt by Carolyn Bennett

“In a country that has spent the last 10 years fighting wars we cannot win,” Marshall begins, “and which have cost so much, in every sense of the word — it is understandable that Greg Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea describing the journey that led him to want to build schools, especially for girls, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, struck a chord.

“It was a story that many wanted to believe.  We wanted there to be a romanticized way that the white colonizer could convince the dark heathens that we would save them. We needed a Lawrence of Arabia-looking hero and Mortenson fulfilled our fantasy.…

“[T]he Mortenson story is merely a variation of the ‘we are better than everyone else therefore we must save them and show them the wisdom of our ways’ mythology that poisons so much of our public dialog.”

However, let us remember, Marshall says, “that Mortenson is hardly the first person to observe that educating children, especially girls, is a very effective way to better society.  Human rights groups have been saying this six-ways-to-Sunday for a very long time.

“If we truly bought into this theory, we would be spending a great deal more on education and a great deal less on military action.

“Women’s rights groups such as RAWA [Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan] were operating schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan long before Mortenson showed up to discuss the matter with male warlords and elders of remote villages — the very same warlords and elders who threaten RAWA [Afghan activist, feminist, leader Malalai Joya] and its work.

“RAWA  operates on very minimal funds, faces great danger, usually the disapproval of elders and warlords and only generates niche support in [the United States] while  Mortenson catches the attention of the whole country — for the simple reason that we were brought up to believe that this was the model of heroism that will save the world.”

Marshall suggests that we are in this respect delusional. Mortensen’s tea saves nothing nor will a brand of anachronistic nonsense save anything, least of all the world.

Sources and notes

 “A cup of rancid tea” (Lucinda Marshall), April 24, 2011, http://www.feministpeacenetwork.org/2011/04/24/a-cup-of-rancid-tea-2/

Andy Worthington on Guantanamo files, Lucinda Marshall on Greg Mortenson” —
CounterSpin (4/29/11-5/5/11), http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4280

Lucinda Marshall
Writer, speaker Lucinda Marshall is the Director of the Feminist Peace Network (FPN) she “founded in December 2001 as a virtual ‘room of our own’ where women concerned about how the impending U.S. invasion of Afghanistan (and later Iraq) would impact women’s lives could share their thoughts and ideas for action in a safe, supportive space.”  Initially focusing on militarism, Marshall has expanded the work to address “other terrorism, the systemic global pandemic of misogyny and violence against women.” http://www.feministpeacenetwork.org/about/lucinda-marshall/

“Fake feminist bona fides— HRClinton’s State Department strikes again —bans Afghan MP/women’s rights activist until pushed to lift ban”  (Todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com Friday, March 25, 2011, http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/2011/03/fake-feminist-bona-fides.html

Sources and notes
“Four things you can do about Malalai Joya’s Visa Denial,” (ACTION ALERT: AWM News, Campaigns), March 18, 2011, http://www.afghanwomensmission.org/?p=1258

Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
RAWA is the oldest political/social organization of Afghan women struggling for peace, freedom, democracy and women's rights in fundamentalism-blighted Afghanistan since 1977, http://www.rawa.org/index.php

Independent-minded Afghan feminist, activist, Member of Parliament Malalai Joya is a vocal defender of human rights, a passionate opponent of fundamentalism, and a fearless advocate of a civic Afghan culture. Malalai Joya is author of A Woman among Warlords: the Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice

“Speaking truth to warlords Banned Afghan MP Malalai Joya on her country’s corruption, the bravery of women and being squashed between two powerful forces,”

“U.S. Reverses Visa Denial to Afghan Activist,” March 25, 2011, http://www.democracynow.org/2011/3/25/headlines

Afghan Women’s Mission
The Afghan Women’s Mission was founded in January 2000 by a small group of Americans to support the humanitarian and political work of RAWA. Projects include many programs run by Afghan women including Malalai Clinic, schools, orphanages, agricultural programs, demonstrations and functions in support of women’s and human rights. We are an all-volunteer organization based in the United States.

The Afghan Women’s Mission was founded in response to the compelling need for adequate hospital facilities near Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan. Their first undertaking was the re-opening of the Malalai Hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. This flagship project was effectively started in late 2001. In 2005, Malalai Hospital was transitioned into Malalai Clinic in Khewa refugee camp, http://www.afghanwomensmission.org/?page_id=2


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