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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
Apr 23, 2014
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

Apr 23, 2014
Attendees of the 2013 Argentina International Coaching Federation meet for networking and coaching training. (ICF)

The booming business of life coaches. Everybody seems to have one these days. Therapists are feeling the pinch. We look at the life coach craze.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 22, 2014
This undated handout photo, taken in 2001, provided by the Museum of the Rockies shows a bronze cast of the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton known as the Wankel T.rex, in front of the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. (AP)

As a new Tyrannosaurus Rex arrives at the Smithsonian, we’ll look at its home – pre-historic Montana – and the age when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

 
Apr 22, 2014
Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in the town of Suwayrah, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 21, 2014. Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed and wounded dozens on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month. (AP)

We look at Iraq now, two years after Americans boots marched out. New elections next week, and the country on the verge of all-out civil war.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Week In Seven Soundbites: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Holy week with an unholy shooter. South Koreans scramble to save hundreds. Putin plays to the crowd in questioning. Seven days gave us seven sounds.

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Our Week In The Web: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Space moon oceans, Gabriel García Márquez and the problems with depressing weeks in the news. Also: important / unnecessary infographics that help explain everyone’s favorite 1980′s power ballad.

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Some Tools And Tricks For College Financial Aid
Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Some helpful links and tools for navigating FAFSA and other college financial aid tools.

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