"Stones into Schools": Empowerment in Afghanistan
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The paper looks at Greg Mortenson's book "Stones into Schools" that details the author's first-hand experiences setting up schools for girls in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The paper analyzes the themes of physical geography and cultural geography in this work and highlights Mortenson's belief that Americans are notoriously bereft of geographic knowledge and lack an understanding of geo-political boundaries and elements of culture. The paper also shows how Mortenson does not hide his criticism of American interventionist foreign policy and its military operations in Central Asia, and how he is characteristically unimpressed by the military might of the United States or its cultural hegemony. The paper then considers the impact of this book and discusses how it can shed light on several issues pertinent to understanding the world better.
Impact of Mortenson's Work
Impact of Mortenson's Work
From the Paper:"Physical geography is a running theme in Stones into Schools. For one, Mortenson's organization is exclusively dedicated to serving disenfranchised communities in rural regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Before Mortenson establishes a school in Lalander, the author explains his initial reluctance because the organization had focused on only those communities that were being systematically neglected and therefore prime targets for Taliban infiltration. The sheer remoteness and isolation of the regions that Mortenson describes highlights some of the key issues related to physical geography.
"It is not only isolation that is a key feature of the villages CAI serves; it is also their stark landscapes and their being prone to earthquakes. The earthquake, which is described as apocalyptic, has a symbolically earth-shattering effect on the author. Mortenson contemplates his role as an on-the-ground operative who must still go through with requisite fundraising activities in order to keep CAI and its schools running. The remoteness again becomes a salient feature of the physical geography as Mortenson describes the laborious rescue efforts following the earthquake.
"Finally, physical geography is a fascinating feature of Central Asia for reasons that are best described by the incident in which the idea of the modern nation-state seems completely outmoded. Mortenson and his crew try to work in "one region so inaccessible that one Afghan official isn't sure that it doesn't belong to neighboring Tajikistan or China instead," (Maslin)."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Dahlman, Carl, Bergman, Edward F. and Renwick, W.H. Introduction to Geography. 3rd Edition. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall
- Maslin, Janet. "Personal Take on Public Projects in Two Devastated Lands." New York Times. 9 Dec 2009. Retrieved online: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/10/books/10book.html
- Matthews, Jay. "Book review: 'Stones into Schools' by Greg Mortenson." Washington Post.com 20 Dec 2009. Retrieved online: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/18/AR2009121801612.html
- Mortenson, Greg. Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Viking, 2009.
Cite this Book Review:
"Stones into Schools": Empowerment in Afghanistan (2013, May 26) Retrieved July 13, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/stones-into-schools-empowerment-in-afghanistan-153370/
""Stones into Schools": Empowerment in Afghanistan" 26 May 2013. Web. 13 July. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/stones-into-schools-empowerment-in-afghanistan-153370/>