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

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