Photo by Alicia Anstead

This is why we’re luckier than a sack of shamrocks to be on this fellowship. This photo was taken a few hours ago at the Copley Plaza Hotel in downtown Boston. The large-headed white guy in the back row is me. The gray-haired gentleman in the center of the frame is Desmond Tutu.

Yeah… nice night.

On Friday we got an e-mail address to leave Tuesday night open, that we had a chance at meeting someone special but it wasn’t locked in yet. (All the scheduler would tell us is that it wasn’t Barack Obama.) Only this morning did we get a note telling us the meeting was on — and revealing our guest.

Nieman conversations are generally off-the-record, so I’ll just say that Tutu is inspiring, hopeful, a compelling speaker, a believer in God’s wisdom, and — this was a surprise to me — REALLY funny. He cracks himself up, and cracked us up too.

Anyway. None of this is to brag or name-drop or anything. It’s just to say that one of the things this year provides is an occasional dose of magic. And none of us get enough magic in our lives.


2 thoughts on “Tutu

  1. Hey Tommy, thanks for the credit. Notice how EVERY SINGLE PERSON IS SMILING IN THE PHOTO??!! The man is a magician. Favorite comment from the night: When asked how he got through so much hellishness, Tutu replied: I am a “prisoner of hope.” Yeah, man.

  2. Tommy,

    It would have been wonderful to sit and listen to ‘the voice of the voiceless’. He definitely brings to the conversation a perspective not often found widely in the U.S. The link below is to an article on his perspective of what’s going on in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that was written long before former President Carter put forth the argument that what’s happening there is akin to ‘apartheid’:


    I hope you had the opportunity to pick his brain on this subject and took advantage of it.

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