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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
Oct 31, 2014
Nurse Kaci Hickox, right, and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur are followed by a Maine State Trooper as they ride bikes on a trail near her home in Fort Kent, Maine, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014.  (AP)

Quarantines and Ebola. An exploding rocket. Apple’s CEO comes out. Hawaiian lava flows. Midterms in the home stretch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Oct 31, 2014
Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) and Sauncho Smilax (Beninico del Toro) share a drink in a scene from the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

From “Interstellar” to “Into the Woods.” The biggest and best movies of the fall and holiday seasons. What to see, what to skip.

RECENT
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Soylent is a grey smoothie the consistency of pancake batter that claims it can replace all your food. On a crowded planet, is this the future of food? Plus: what does the Antares rocket crash mean for private space travel?

 
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Home ownership rates are at a 20-year low. Millennials and more aren’t buying. We’ll look at what American’s think now about owning a home.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
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