Welcome to The Kettle!

Primarily, "The Kettle" publicizes and manages the "Three Cups of Tea Book Project." However, as described in our very first post (click here), we also hope to use "The Kettle" as a medium for individuals interested in social issues to become more aware of the lives of those less fortunate. Ideally, whatever we write or publish here will take that nascent concern and transform it into action. To inspire any action, small or large, in the genuine interest of doing better for the world is our ultimate goal.

Though heavily slanted towards Pakistan and Afghanistan presently, we do try to include news, opinions, and reference materials regarding diverse topics, including poverty, reconstruction, human rights, Africa, "Green" developments, Micro Finance, and other solutions and considerations for what are essentially man made problems in the world. In the universe of charitable options, we endorse and support multigenerational solutions and initiatives for multigenerational problems.

The education made possible by the Central Asia Institute is one such solution, but there are certainly others. We encourage the commitment of resources and people that goes beyond merely "patriarchal" handouts to the multitude of people in need. We agree that it is good to charitable, but charity that only treats the symptoms and not the root causes has proven to be insufficient. A consistent commitment to work with the local communities of people in need to provide and/or improve education, nutrition, access to capital, human rights, security, sustainable development/redevelopment, and environmental stewardship are what will lead to an enduring improvement in people's lives.

If you have any questions, general comments, and suggestions for improvements, please leave a comment on any of the posts below, and we'll follow up with you!

The Kettle's shared items

Saturday, December 26, 2009

CAI 2009 Achievementts

Some of CAI's achievements in 2009, made possible by private contributors, like many of you!

CAI schools total 131,
CAI built 29 new schools Afghanistan and in Pakistan,
CAI Students total enrollment is 58,000,
CAI now has 36,000 female enrollment,
CAI has a total of 17 vocational centers,
CAI educated 19 higher education scholarship students,
CAI had teacher training & midwife training workshops,
CAI's Greg Mortenson published 3 new bestseller books,
CAI's Greg Mortenson spoke at 214 events nationally,
CAI's program Pennies for Peace raised 150,000,000 cents,
CAI's Pennies for Peace expanded from 280 to 4500 programs in schools, groups & libraries in 20 countries   

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Friday, November 20, 2009

Book Project Update: 8 Countries and Counting!

Thanks to Qing from New York and Asim from the UK, we now have 8 countries participating in the Book project. The present tally is: United States, UK, Canada, Japan, China, India, Australia, and the Netherlands.

After reading the book, Asim made a nice comment about the book, and I wanted to share that here. She wrote:

The Cups of Tea is one of the most inspirational books I have ever read. The story of Greg Mortenson is a story of hope, perseverance and courage. He is a true hero, who has made everlasting difference to the lives of many remote villagers in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I would highly recommend reading this book and supporting Greg’s cause in any way possible.

I look forward to mapping the books' progress through the Netherlands, Australia, and wherever else we may find people willing to learn about Greg Mortenson's efforts in Central Asia.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Thursday, November 5, 2009

NYTimes: More Schools, Not Troops

Published: October 29, 2009
A compelling argument against more troops in Afghanistan rests on this trade-off: For the cost of an additional soldier stationed in Afghanistan for a year, nearly 20 schools could be built. [More]

Greg Mortenson, author of “Three Cups of Tea,” has now built 39 schools in Afghanistan and 92 in Pakistan — and not one has been burned down or closed. The aid organization CARE has 295 schools educating 50,000 girls in Afghanistan, and not a single one has been closed or burned by the Taliban. The Afghan Institute of Learning, another aid group, has 32 schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with none closed by the Taliban (although local communities have temporarily suspended three for security reasons).

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

FEER: The Art of Afghan Alliance Building | Foreign Affairs

The Art of Afghan Alliance Building | Foreign Affairs

Summary --
As the United States and its NATO allies slog on in Afghanistan, it is Washington's mismanagement of local alliances that has proved to be the undoing of its strategy in the country. [MORE]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

NY Times: Remembering Afghanistan’s Golden Age

Published: October 18, 2009

From the 1930s to the 1970s, Afghanistan had a semblance of a national government and Kabul was known as “the Paris of Central Asia.” [MORE]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

NY Times: Racing Time and Taliban to Rebuild in Pakistan

Published: October 11, 2009
Reconstruction of battered villages has yet to begin in the upper Swat Valley, making the area ripe for another Taliban takeover. [MORE]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

WSJ: Five Technologies That Could Change Everything

Five Technologies That Could Change Everything

It's a tall order: Over the next few decades, the world will need to wean itself from dependence on fossil fuels and drastically reduce greenhouse gases. Current technology will take us only so far; major breakthroughs are required.

What might those breakthroughs be? Here's a look at five technologies that, if successful, could radically change the world energy picture. [MORE]

Reading stuff likes this makes me wish I was an engineer working on this stuff!

-- The Kettle Rumbles

BBC: Kyrgyzstan's government resigns

Kyrgyzstan's government has announced its resignation, as a result of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's call for sweeping reforms. [MORE]


An Alarming turn of events!

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Monday, October 19, 2009

BBC: Fleeing from South Waziristan dangers

Fleeing from South Waziristan dangers

Up to 100,000 civilians have left their homes in South Waziristan, where the Pakistani army is fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda. [More]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

BBC: Profile: Hakimullah Mehsud

Profile: Hakimullah Mehsud

Hakimullah Mehsud, who the Taliban say is their new leader in Pakistan, came to prominence in 2007 after a number of spectacular raids against the army. [More]


How futile it is to drop bombs from 20,000 feet in the air to kill the leadership of an organization whose ranks are quickly replenished by young men like Hakimullah Mehsud. Hakimullah had no education but from a madrasa. How different would his life had been and the conflict in Pakistan would be if we, who have so many opportunities ourselves, had cared whether he had any... 

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Saturday, October 10, 2009

BBC: 'Living wage' identified for Asia

'Living wage' identified for Asia 

Labour Behind the Label, a group that campaigns for garment workers, has calculated a wage it says should be used as a minimum for workers in Asia. [More]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

FEER: Why Islamic Extremists Hate India

October 2009

Why Islamic Extremists Hate India

by Salil Tripathi

EXCERPT: [...]India is a danger because by its pluralistic nature it is a real threat for Islamic extremists. Not only does India have the world’s third-largest Muslim population (Pakistan finally overtook India recently), despite domestic differences with the majority Hindus, Indian Muslims have remained loyal to the Indian state, and have fully embraced democracy. While many Muslims live in poverty in India, so do other Indians, including Hindus. And Muslims alone are not victims of human rights abuses in India. What’s more, talented Muslims have often reached the top of Indian corporations, judiciary, armed forces, bureaucracy, and other fields, entirely on merit. They are able to express their grievances through the democratic system. It is no surprise, then, that of all the recruits al Qaeda has been able to attract around the world, barely a handful of Indian Muslims have been swayed by al Qaeda’s nihilist ideology. [MORE]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Monday, September 28, 2009

CAI: A quote from a CAI teacher

I was catching up to reading a CAI newsletter and came upon the following quote, which I think summarizes much of the good the CAI's work does for the communities they serve and the world at large:

"If you can't read, then you must believe what the imam tells you," said Shaukat Ali, a former Kashmiri freedom fighter and Taliban member who now teaches at the Gundi Piran school. "If you are only a listener, not a reader, if you cannot read the language, you can get the wrong idea. And that is a misfortune. But slowly, slowly, we can encourage modern education, encourage people to send boys and girls to school. If we invest, it will come back to us. We have to deal with problems of tradition and culture. But we can stop extremism. If people are educated, we can fight against poverty, cruelty, and injustice."

These words, coming from someone who was a militia and Taliban member, but now is a teacher for the CAI school, is so poignant. I am amazed at the wisdom, courage, and open mindedness of the CAI staff.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Some Insight on the CAI Logo

Taken from CAI Newsletter:

"The Central Asia Institute Logo depicts a mother wearing a traditional scarf, holding her child and embraced by mountains. Her sleeve suggests a book and reading, while the river signifies the hope that education and literacy bring. The crescent moon and star pay respect to the communities that CAI serves, which are of Islamic tradition and faith. The mountains are the Karakoram, Pamir, and Hindu Kush ranges (the greatest consolidation of high peaks in the world), which are integral to the communities Central Asia Institute serves. The color blue represents the Lapis stone (Lapis lazuli) and blue Topaz, unique to Central Asia. The logo was designed by Brynn Breuner of the San Francisco Area in 1995. www.taewindmedia.com"

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Thursday, September 24, 2009

BBC: Rare glimpse inside hidden Turkmenistan

Rare glimpse inside hidden Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan has remained largely closed to the world since its independence from Soviet rule in 1991. The BBC's Rayhan Demytrie took advantage of a Silk Road car rally to see the country. [More]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Gulf Times: Suspected Taliban rebels bomb school

Suspected Taliban rebels bomb school

Suspected Taliban militants bombed a primary school on the outskirts of Peshawar yesterday, underscoring the Islamist threat in northwest Pakistan despite a series of military offensives. [More]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

NY Times: Real Men Tax Gas

Real Men Tax Gas
Published: September 20, 2009
There is something wrong when our country is considering sending more troops to Afghanistan, but can’t even talk about a gasoline tax to reduce our dependency on oil. [More]

The man has a point. Who are really the "cheese eating surrender monkeys" if the country is willing to send young people to fight (and die) in Afghanistan, but won't tax oil to fund the deficit and promote energy independence?

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NYTimes: Purge of Iranian Universities Is Feared

Published: September 2, 2009

Recent speeches by Iranian leaders have stoked fears that the government will purge universities of professors and curriculums deemed “un-Islamic.” [More]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

The Lede: Iranians Say Prison Rape Is Not New

Published: August 28, 2009

Two prominent members of Iran's human rights community have published essays on Iranian Web sites arguing that far from being a new phenomenon, prison rape has a long history in the Islamic Republic. [More]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

NYTimes: To Save Afghanistan, Look to Its Past

Published: September 11, 2009

Any one of the crises Afghanistan faces would justify convening a loya jirga, or grand assembly. But the most compelling reason for doing so is to select a president. [More]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Monday, September 14, 2009

Book Project Update

Sorry for the lack of updates of recently. I've started taking classes after work, and that is taking a considerable amount of time. I continue to work offline though. This afternoon I sent 8 books to Japan, 2 books to London, and 1 book to New Jersey. It cost me $115 in shipping altogether but if even a few of those books manage to inspire one or two people, then the $115 would be worth it.

Farzeen from New York recently left me a message which made me feel good about the money and time I am spending on the project. After reading Book 15, she wrote:

Personally, for someone who is at somewhat of a crossroads in my career, I found the story truly inspirational The idea of the Three of Cups Book Project is brilliant in how we try to spread this message out there. I hope for each of us who participate in this project, in the coming years, whenever we are touched by a story, an incident, and at that moment if we mentally make a promise to make a change, however small, we do follow through with it.
I made a commitment several months ago to give away 200 copies of the book and try to raise $50,000 for the CAI. Though I have been slowed down by work, life "stuff", and the speed participants are getting through the book, I continue to be committed to the 200 book goal. I'm actually down to 3 books, and need to buy more soon. I have about 40 books in circulation now.

Thank you, Farzeen and other project participants, for inspiring me to continue even as things become much more inconvenient.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Sunday, August 23, 2009

NYTimes: A School Bus for Shamsia

Published: August 23, 2009
A writer returned to Afghanistan to buy a bus for Afghan girls who were attacked on their walk to school. But it turns out giving isn’t always easy. [More]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Thursday, August 20, 2009

NYTimes: The Women’s Crusade

Published: August 23, 2009
The liberation of women could help solve many of the world’s problems, from poverty to child mortality to terrorism. [MORE]


Some of these people are truly amazing. Seeing what other people have to go through just to be able to read or provide for their kids makes so many of the things that concern people in my world so trivial. When I find myself wasting time, I think about stories like Tererai's. She spent much of her life being told to not educate herself, not to go beyond what was expected of women like her. She was beaten and punished for trying, but in the end, a cattle herder from Zimbabwe DID go to America, IS making a difference for the lives of her children and her people, and WILL achieve all her dreams, including getting a PhD. Wow.

I think we should all ask ourselves what it is exactly that we're doing with our time, wealth, and education. There is more to life than entertainment and luxury.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Motherhouse, A Social Business in Bangladesh Started by a Japanese Entrepreneur

A friend of mine recently decided to leave the corporate world behind to do something she can be really passionate about. She will be joining Motherhouse, a social business in Bangladesh started by a Japanese entrepreneur. Yamaguchi started Motherhouse after realizing that like most people working in charity organizations that focus on developing countries, she had no experience being in a developing country. She soon made her way to Bangladesh . While trying to figure out a way to help the people there, she discovered the jute fiber, and decided she would try to sell products made in Bangladesh to Japan. Despite the alien surroundings and hardships of living and doing business in Bangladesh, Yamaguchi managed to succeed and build an organization that has inspired my friend to join them and fulfill an inherent need to do something better in her life.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

NYTimes: Central Asia Sounds Alarm on Islamic Radicalism

Published: August 18, 2009
Officials in the region fear that homegrown militants may be moving north to take on the area’s brittle governments. [MORE]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Asim and Tamreez is fundraising for Friends Of The Citizens Foundation - JustGiving

Asim and Tamreez is fundraising for Friends Of The Citizens Foundation - JustGiving

Posted using ShareThis


A friend's friend is climbing Mt. Kilamanjaro to raise money for the Citizen's Foundation, which builds schools in urban slums in Pakistan. I commend their efforts and hope they achieve their goals!

- The Kettle Rumbles

Awesome Post from Friday Reflections

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do." ~Edward Everett Hale.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

News: CAI Annual Fundraiser in (New Brunswick, NJ)

"Central Asia Institute Annual Fundraiser

With Nobel Peace Nominee Greg Mortenson

Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and co-author of Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson shares his humanitarian life’s work at the CAI Fundraiser on October 24, 2009. He is the director of CAI, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that supports community-based education, especially for girls in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan."

[More Details]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

News Update from Central Asia Institute

'Click the Share button to create links to this email on popular social networking and bookmarking size like Facebook, Twitter, and Digg.'

Shared via AddThis

Someone stole $400 from Kindergarten students! Greg Mortenson has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize! Greg also now twitters! 240 schools destroyed in the violence in the Swat region. No CAI schools, but still, a sad result from the struggle between the Pakistani government and the Taliban.

BBC: Anger greets Suu Kyi conviction

Anger greets Suu Kyi conviction

World leaders have reacted with anger and disappointment at the conviction of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for violating security laws. [MORE]


Not that I like the conviction at all, but 18 months doesn't seem too bad. At least, they didn't do something ridiculous like sentence her to 5+ years under house arrest. She has spent 14 years jailed in either her home or prison. Kinda makes one thankful for the political freedom we enjoy.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Book Project Update: ...And...We're Back!

Well..kind of. Sorry for the two week hiatus. I've been busy moving into my new place, and I can't exactly be blogging willy nilly at work! I FINALLY get the Internet installed in my new place this weekend. I can't wait to return to the modern society.

Some Details on the book Project:

Book #1 is indeed #1 as it has taken the lead from Book #4 now being on its 4th reader. Book #4 is currently only with its 3rd reader. Book 11 and Book 5 are still in the running with 2 readers tallied so far.

We've raised over $300 so far for the Central Asia Institute. We also managed to help get a donation for "Free the Children."

Thanks so much to our generous readers for their donations and support.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Friday, July 31, 2009

AP: Another China Activist Charged With Subversion

July 31, 2009

Another China Activist Charged With Subversion

Filed at 3:25 a.m. ET

BEIJING (AP) -- A Chinese activist who questioned why so many schoolchildren died in 2008's massive earthquake has been charged with subversion and will stand trial in mid-August, his lawyer said Friday. [MORE]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Thursday, July 30, 2009

NYTimes: Nicholas D. Kristof: An Update on Assiya

Published: July 28, 2009
After my Sunday column on Assiya Rafiq, the teenage girl who is trying to prosecute the police in Pakistan who raped her, an update. First, many, many of you donated money through Mercy Corps to the Mukhtar Mai fund (a total of $75,000 so far), and some of that was stipulated for Assiya. [MORE]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

NYTimes: In War and Isolation, a Fighter for Afghan Women

Published: July 28, 2009
Pashtoon Azfar, director of Afghanistan’s Institute of Health Sciences and president of the midwives association, is bringing attention to maternal deaths. [MORE]
Her mother delivered her own 10 children by herself! Wow. The article demonstrates the damage Afghan society has endured at the hands the Taliban, but I am sure the civil war and Soviet invasion before then didn't help either.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Saturday, July 25, 2009

NYTIMES: Not a Victim, but a Hero

Published: July 26, 2009
A Pakistani girl musters the courage to publicly fight her rapists, despite threats to her family. [MORE]

Knowing how hard other people's lives are makes it hard to complain about the little frustrations I have to deal with. I am grateful for the resources and freedom I have, and hope that these things will allow me to make a real difference in this world. I would change the title of that article to "A Victim, but Also a Hero," but I am no Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times! I have done nothing in my life that comes close to how bravely Assiya Rafiq has perservered after her ordeal.

I've been trying to figure out the mercycorps.org website mentioned in the article. There doesn't seem to be a fund to help Assiya's family. Maybe if I twitter the author, he would actually respond and tell me how to get money to her!

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

NY Times: Teacher, Can We Leave Now? No.

Published: July 19, 2009
Watching the delight in the faces of Afghan girls crowded into a school waiting to learn put a new perspective on the war. [MORE]
Thomas Friedman writes about his thoughts after being at one of the Central Asai Institute's schools in Afghanistan. The impression he got was enough to give him hope that perhaps not everything that has happened in Afghanistan is bad and that perhaps the world can't just leave and abandon the region (again).

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Navy Compass: IA/GSA Sailors hear unique viewpoint from best-selling author

"Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission To Promote Peace… One School At A Time is required reading for U.S. senior military commanders, U.S. Special Forces deploying to Afghanistan and Pentagon officers as well as military personnel from several other countries. Many who have read it embrace Mortenson’s advocacy for building relationships as a part of an overall strategic plan for peace." [MORE]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

The Associated Press: Egypt: Muslim Victim Mourned

Published: July 7, 2009
Thousands marched Monday behind the coffin of a pregnant Muslim who had been stabbed to death in a German courtroom. [MORE]
What happened here is so wrong on so many levels. It's hard enough for minorities who are discriminated against to speak up, but for a government to fail to protect them...and demonstrate their own prejudice and racism at the same time, that's just astonishingly bad. What a sad day for society.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ted.com: Sophal Ear: Escaping the Khmer Rouge

Sophal Ear speaks about his family's escape to Vietnam from Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge came to power.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Monday, July 6, 2009

NYTimes: Running Out of Options, Afghans Pay for an Exit

Running Out of Options, Afghans Pay for an Exit
Published: July 5, 2009
Young Afghans are abandoning their country, frustrated by endless war, a lack of prospects and the slow pace of change. [MORE]

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Thursday, June 25, 2009

NYTimes: Saving a Kashmiri Village After Remaking His Life

Published: June 25, 2009
An American who arrived as a volunteer rescue worker after the 2005 earthquake that killed 80,000 Pakistanis started a hospital that treats 100,000 annually. [MORE]

From broken home, drug addiction, music, rescue worker, to hospital administrator. God bless individuals like Todd Shea.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Book Project Update: Website in the Works

A number of people have commented that the blog format is too confusing. So, I am refocusing on designing a new website, which will integrate this blog. That had been on the works in the past, but I was hoping the blog format would suffice. Alas, it seems I have to roll up my sleeves and build a new site. I am thinking of using google sites, but the results on there don't look like they can be pretty...

In other news, my home computer has been broken. So, I haven't been able to make more book packages and update as frequently as I like. I intend to buy a new computer in a couple of weeks.

Thanks for being patient!

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Sunday, June 21, 2009

BBC: Burmese jailed for Suu Kyi prayer

A court in Burma has sentenced two supporters of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to 18 months in prison after they prayed for her release [more].

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Book Project Update: 6 Countries and Counting!

We now have books in 6 countries (and counting!). So far, we have the Unites States, India, Japan, China, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Happy Reading!

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Sunday, June 14, 2009

NY Times: Nicholas D. Kristof: Putting the Microsavings in Microfinance

Published: May 26, 2009

It has become increasingly clear that the most important element of microfinance isn’t lending, but savings. That lesson was taught to me by SEWA in India, Kashf in Pakistan and Grameen in Bangladesh. Only some poor people will benefit from the chance to borrow, but almost all will benefit from the chance to save. That’s also [...] (More here)
Can you imagine paying 40% a year to save your money at a bank? That's exactly what happens in some parts of the world. Nicholas Kristof speaks of how micro savings and not micro credit may by the most important aspect of microfinance. Not only is this more impactful, it might actually be more achieveable, I think. Several years ago and even now, I was/am able to fund a savings account in the United States for $10 (or less!?). I subsequently opted to put the bulk of my savings elsewhere, but that $10 deposit continues to exist in a savings account which has been collecting interest ever since.
So, why can't "regular" banks continue to lend as they are used to, but allow for micro savings from the poor? The obvious answer might be discrimination and a desire to put up a more prestigious appearance--having poor or impoverished people at banking centers might turn off more fortunate account holders... One would hope we can get passed that sort of thinking.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Book Project Update: New and Improved Letter

I tweaked the Book Insert Letter for the Books I am sending out. I hope I didn't go overboard with the images. Below is a scan:

What do you think?

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Book Project Update: Book #4 is first!

I am really happy to report that one of our books has managed to inspire at least one person. Jarcin from New York wrote:

"Thank you for organizing this! The book was a great read and it was an inspiring look at what can be accomplished when people take the time to care and share their dreams."

This was really refreshing. It has taken a lot of time and money to get this project started, and seeing just one person appreciate the type of work that the CAI does makes it all worth it.

Thank you, Jarcin! I had not heard back from the other people I've given books to, and I was starting to doubt the concept behind the book project. Your generous contribution and kind words really does convince me that we're doing something good here. I'm off to put together more books!!! THANK YOU.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

What to Read on Iranian Politics | Foreign Affairs

What to Read on Iranian Politics | Foreign Affairs

Shared via AddThis

Sunday, June 7, 2009


If you've ever wondered how you can help in a sustainable way in Afghanistan, without risking your life in Kandahar...

Check out the good works of Arghand.

They make soaps from fruit oils to give farmers an alternative to growing poppy. The founder is Sarah Chayes, author of "The Punishment of Virtue," former NPR correspondent, current Kandahar resident, and all around awesome person.

Their list of retail partners can be found here: http://www.arghand.org/retails_usa.htm

I'll be posting my impressions of her book "The Punishment of Virute" in a few days.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Kettle is M.I.A.

I have been M.I.A. the past week! And I will be so until I taken my exam on June 6th. Sorry for the 2 week hiatus! We'll be back serving your hot serving of The Kettle goodness mid June!

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Far Eastern Economic Review: Burma's Last Chance

by Aung Din

Posted May 26, 2009

"As an exile supporting the democracy movement, led by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, in my homeland, Burma, I have placed faith and confidence in the international community to help end the tyranny of the military regime. Many countries in the world, including the United States, the European Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), China, India, Japan, Canada, Australia and Korea have been involved in addressing the situation in Burma with different levels of interest, influence and responsibility. We appreciate those efforts, but the time has come to re-evaluate how best to collectively engage the international community to push for freedom in Burma." (Click here for more)


This is an interesting article that describes some of the geopolitics involved in Burma. The author calls for a different approach to Burma, and argues that doing nothing has not and will not work to bring about democratic change to Burma.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Monday, May 25, 2009

Associated Press: Brawl Leaves Sikh Preacher Dead in Vienna

May 25, 2009

Brawl Leaves Sikh Preacher Dead in Vienna

Filed at 5:01 a.m. ET

VIENNA (AP) -- A Sikh preacher died Monday after being wounded in an attack on his temple by a group of fundamentalist Sikhs armed with knives and a handgun, police said. India's prime minister appealed for calm as riots protesting the deadly shooting spread to several northern Indian cities. (click here for more)

Excerpt: "Caste discrimination has been outlawed in India for more than a half century, and a quota system was established with the aim of giving Dalits a fair share of government jobs and places in schools. But their plight remains dire, living in poverty and kept down by ancient prejudice and caste-based politics."

NY Times: U.S. Captain Hears Pleas for Afghan Detainee

Published: May 25, 2009
An American officer, who in civilian life is a policeman, helped find a lawyer for a man held as a suspected Taliban leader.


Captain Black should be commended for putting in the extra effort to listen to locals in Afghanistan. Instead, he is investigated by the military and told to stop speaking about the case. The war for the hearts and minds of people in Afghanistan is already lost if we can't act by the same principles this country was founded on. Does the basic human right of habeas corpus not apply to non-Americans? How about non-Westerners? Fear does not excuse tyranny.

Conditions are hard and good information and records are hard to come by in Afghanistan. So, I don't blame the U.S. Military for making mistakes. Mistakes by themselves won't lead to ruin...but a failure to learn from them and do better certainly will.

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Book Project Update: Revised Inserts

I been working on tightening up the letter a little bit and incorporating new elements to the letter. In particular, I wanted to ask people for pictures of the book from wherever they are so that I can post these pictures on the website. I also wanted to incorporate our Fund Raiser Code (0527) and the legal language I needed to include, per the terms of our fundraiser agreement with the Central Asia Institute. Maybe I'll also add a "The Kettle" logo in the future--just been to busy with my exam in June to get to work on that. Anyway, without further ado, here's the new letter for future batches of the book:

Dear Reader,

You were chosen by the previous holder of this book because he/she believed that you would benefit from this gift. Three Cups of Tea is the story of one man’s journey to improve the lives of children in poor, remote villages in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This man is Greg Mortenson, and his organization, the Central Asia Institute (CAI), has built over 70 schools along with other humanitarian projects in one of the poorest and most dangerous regions in the world. Greg Mortenson overcame near fatal failure, heart ache, hostile mullahs, lack of money, and huge cultural differences to maintain his promise to an impoverished people. He followed his heart and built a bridge of understanding and friendship that has done more to foster peace than all the weapons in the world ever can. It is my sincere hope that you will find his story as inspirational as I did when I read this book.

It was after reading this book that I decided to start “The Kettle,” and with it, an experiment/fundraiser/awareness building initiative that we (everyone who has held this book before you, including myself) call the “Three Cups of Tea Book Project.” We ask that you read the book as soon as you can and donate to the CAI, if you wish to support their work. After you’ve read this book, please give it to another individual who you feel you would most benefit from reading it. If you do wish to contribute to the CAI’s mission of peace, please do so via the “Donate” link on our website (listed below) or directly to the CAI on their website (www.ikat.org/make-a-donation). Our CAI Fundraiser Code for the "Three Cups of Tea" Book Project fundraiser is 0527. If this number is written boldly on a check or placed in the last name box of the in honor section for online credit card donations, the contribution will be added to our fundraiser total. Our goal is to raise $50,000 for the CAI. $50,000 is enough money to build and support a school in Pakistan or Afghanistan for 5 years. In order for the project to work, we will need to track certain information. If we do not follow up with you directly, please contact us via the email listed below and inform us of the following:

· the book number of your particular book (found on the very first page of the book),
· the amount you’ve donated or plan to donate (if any),
· the name, email, and location (city, country) for the individual to whom you’ve given this book (Note: Email addresses will never be shared with third parties. We only need email information so that we can follow up with project participants.),
· and any comments, suggestions, questions, or pictures/videos (of the book) you may have.

We hope to eventually launch 200 books as part of the “Three Cups of Tea Book Project.” We track the progress of each book and the funds raised on our website (listed below). On the website, you will find the path taken and stops made by each book around the world. You will also find posts and other materials concerning various social interests. Please join us on the website. We’d love to hear from you. On a final note, may the example of courage and integrity demonstrated in this book give you the strength and patience to move mountains in your own life!

“The Kettle Rumbles"
New York, NY, U.S.A.

P.S. Please register your name, location, and any comments you may have in the Reader Log at the end of this book. Thank you!

Legal Disclaimer: The Central Asia Institute name is used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement, expressed or implied, of any product, service, company, or individual. For more information about Central Asia Institute or Pennies for Peace, please call 1-406-585-7841 or visit www.ikat.org.


What do you think?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Book Project Update - Fund Raiser Code: 0527

We're officially registered with Central Asia Institute! Our Code for the "Three Cups of Tea" Book Project fundraiser is 0527. If this number is written boldly on a check or placed in the last name box of the in honor section for online credit card donations, the contribution will be added to our fundraiser total.

I need to update the book inserts and follow up forms to mention this administrative note...

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Monday, May 18, 2009

Book Project Update

I have 11 people officially signed up or already in receipt of the book! Only 189 more books to go... I was doing some calculations last night. I think I should aim for about 12 books launched per week starting in June. 

I also determined how much a roll of double sided tape can get me in terms of completed book packages. At about 7 books per roll, I am going to need 29 rolls altogether to prepare 200 books for the project. 

I also need about 3 sheets of high quality parchment paper per book. So, 600 sheets altogether (assuming no mishaps).

I have some shopping to do...

-- The Kettle Rumbles

Friday, May 15, 2009

BBC: Why is Burma's junta afraid of Suu Kyi?

By Jonathan Head 
BBC News, Bangkok

Excerpt: "But why go to such lengths to confine a woman who has already spent 13 of the past 19 years in detention, and has had little opportunity to run her increasingly demoralized and divided party?"


Very interesting. I can't say I know much about Burma and Suu Kyi, but this article is pretty good summary of why she's been held under house arrest/prison for so long... 13 out of 19 years because of a pro democracy stance! Who is this American man that gave the government there an excuse to imprison her again? I can see why Suu Kyi's supporters are angry with him, especially since they can't similarly express their anger at the miitary dictatorship in Burma, without landing in jail themselves. I'm all for patient progress, but perhaps the world can put a little more pressure on Burma for more political freedom. I probably shouldn't hold my breath. 

- The Kettle Rumbles

Lubbock Online: Banned group helping out Pakistan refugees

Banned group helping out Pakistan refugees

Associated Press Writer

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A banned charity with alleged links to the Mumbai attacks is helping refugees fleeing the fighting between the Pakistani military and the Taliban, a group member said Thursday, raising questions about the government's pledge to crack down on the outfit.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Associated Press: Third Afghan Girls’ School Experiences Sudden Illness

Published: May 13, 2009
At least 98 people from an Afghan girls school were admitted to a hospital Tuesday for headaches and vomiting in the third such episode in three weeks.
Excerpt: "MUHMUD RAQI, Afghanistan (AP) — At least 98 people from an Afghan girls’ school were admitted to a hospital on Tuesday for headaches and vomiting in the third such episode in three weeks, officials and doctors said."


I really, really hope that these girls aren't being poisoned. It's awful that people who insist that girls shouldn't be educated resort to throwing acid in their face, blinding and disfiguring them for life. In "Three Cups of Tea," Greg Mortenson speaks of how he got official recognition from the Shia High Council (forgive me if I am messing up the proper title for this council) that his work with educating girls was noble and is in keeping with the Koran. I truly admire the courage of these organizations, teachers, builders, parents, and students. They are risking their lives and well being to educate young women and improve their future.

-- The Kettle Rumbles