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‘Love Thine Enemy': Producer Stefano Kotsonis Remembers Madiba

Love thine enemy.  Turn the other check.  Speak truth.  Blessed are the meek.  Freedom. Be good.  Be kind.  It’s not complicated.  We’ve all been taught to live by these ideas.  But we love a guy like Mr. Mandela because however clever, possibly even ruthless he may have been as political tactician, he seemed, at least by the time he had matured, much, much better at living those precepts than most of us.

I met Mandela, but only to shake his hand, smile, exchange greetings.  His people fluttered around him like he was a special, tall angel.  And indeed, he had that air about him that most other powerful people I’ve met simply do not have.  Just a couple of examples:  Yitzhak Shamir.  A contemptuous, angry, even cruel man, he seemed.  Yassir Arafat:  A buffoonish charm, maybe, when pushing his way through crowds, but mostly he glowed with anger and self-pity.  Slobodan Milosevic. Murderous.   Franjo Tudjman.  Stupid and murderous.

Funny, but four ‘M’ leaders of Africa come to mind.  Mandela, Mobutu, Mugabe, Mubarak.  Can you admire the other three?  Don’t these men who had billions of dollars and the blood and sorrow of millions flow through their fingers seem so small and unimpressive by comparison to good old Madiba?

Who on the world stage can you admire as much?  Putin?  Merkel?  Musharraf? (Boy, there ARE a lot of ‘M’ leaders.) Our recent American presidents?  (Okay, let’s not go there.)  Pelosi?  Reid? Boehner?  McConnell?

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to turn our respectful eyes towards somebody on the world stage today now that Mandela is resting in peace?  South Africans have their many reasons for mourning him.  One of the sad things about his passing for the rest of us is, well, read the papers.

– Stefano Kotsonis

On Point producer Stefano Kotsonis shows off his "Mandela For President" t-shirt in the WBUR offices. (Nick Andersen / WBUR)

On Point producer Stefano Kotsonis shows off his “Mandela For President” t-shirt in the WBUR offices. (Nick Andersen / WBUR)

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ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 6, 2015
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves as he speaks before a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 3, 2015. Since Republicans took control of Congress two months ago, an elaborate tug of war has broken out between GOP lawmakers and Obama over who calls the shots on major issues for the next two years. (AP)

Netanyahu’s speech. Hillary Clinton’s email. Obamacare back at the high court. A stunning start to the Boston Marathon bombing trial. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Mar 6, 2015
"The Sellout" is novelist Paul Beatty's new book. (Courtesy Farrar, Strauss & Giroux)

Author Paul Beatty’s novel “The Sellout” is a satirical look at race relations in America. He joins us.

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Mar 5, 2015
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Are American women being prescribed psychiatric drugs – anti-depressants, anti-psychotics — for normal emotions? We’ll hear out one psychiatrist’s bold claim.

 
Mar 5, 2015
A car passes a memorial for Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by Ferguson, Mo., Police Officer Darren Wilson last summer, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Ferguson. A Justice Department investigation found sweeping patterns of racial bias within the Ferguson police department, with officers routinely discriminating against blacks by using excessive force, issuing petty citations and making baseless traffic stops, according to law enforcement officials familiar with the report.  (AP)

The big Justice Department report finds a pattern of racial bias in the Ferguson Police Department. Now what? We’re back in Ferguson – and beyond — for answers.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
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Friday, Feb 27, 2015

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