15 Lessons on Life, Love and Courage from Mandela

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.


In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeoning’s of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.


Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.


It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.


– Invictus – William Ernest Henley –


Rolihlahla, or Madiba, is the man who captured my attention over several years. A man who, despite all the worst stiffness, forgo of revenge and with his demure personality, decided boldly to fulfill his overarching goal:


Put an end to the Social Injustice the white people (Afrikaner) had against the black people and unite the nation in a one country where Democracy guarantees equal rights to everybody


The reason I’m trying to find the best words to talk about this hero is because I want you all to understand what the word DEMOCRACY means. I want you to know what a single man needed to endure and sacrifice in order to try to make his country understand that Democracy has to be a foundation of a country’s Constitution.

4 years have passed since he left the world. Nelson (first name given by his first teacher, Miss Mdingane) Mandela, the prisoner 46664, led his country towards a harmonious coexistence, thanks to his late-in-life feature:

Winning people’s hearts


 Exactly. Winning people’s hearts was the key towards freedom from apartheid and the end of the social injustice era. Thanks to the sacrifices of this man and the support of others activists, the country finally found its fair identity.

Reading the tough journey towards the now-a-days South Africa, it is hard to accept that it took one man’s actions to bring emancipation to the black population.

Every single action requires sacrifices. Sacrifices that Mandela paid with 27 years of imprisonment.

Mandela’s Way: Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage By Richard Stengel, gave me a great inspiration for the future:

 Courage is not the absence of fear



N.M: Courage is an everyday activity, and we can display it in ways large and small. Don’t be ever afraid to say you are afraid! Pretend to be brave and you not only become brave, you are brave!


Be measured


N.M: Control is the measure of a leader. The people want to see how you handle situations. They want things explained to them clearly and rationally. Be measured!


Lead from the front


N.M: Leading from the front is admitting you have been wrong – even when no one else is accusing you of being wrong.


Lead from the back


N.M: Ubuntu – People are empowered by other people. We become our best selves through unselfish interaction with others.


Look the part


N.M: The best way to help others see your character is by how you appear. Images have tremendous power to shape how we are perceived.


Have a core principle


N.M: All principles are not created equal. You have to weigh the relative advantages.


See the good in others


N.M: See everyone as virtuous until proven otherwise. Seek the positive and the constructive. Seeing the good in others might make them better.


Know your enemy


N.M: Don’t address their brains. Address their hearts. Let always your enemy save his face because you will have made your enemy your friend.


Keep your rivals close


N.M: Keeping them close, under your wing, will make them think twice before going against you.


Know when to say no


N.M: Don’t be a person of maybes! Don’t worry about being unpleasant. Do it right away and clearly: No! You will avoid a heap of trouble in the long run.


It’s a long game


N.M: If you want to win, then play a long game. Rapidity is not what makes one bold. A rushed, short-term mistake might have long-term consequences.


 Love makes the difference


N.M: When you love somebody you don’t see his faults. The love is everything. Don’t pay attention to the things others may find wrong with him. Just love him!


Quitting is leading too


N.M: Yielding can be a kind of victory too – surrendering means that you are going over to the winning side. Then you too can claim victory.


It’s always both


N.M: Every problem has many causes, not just one. Even if we remain wedded to our point of view, it requires us to put ourselves in the shoes of those with whom we disagree. It requires empathy and imagination. The reward is something that can fairly be described as wisdom.


Find your own garden


N.M: Each of us needs something away from the world that gives us pleasure and satisfaction, a place apart. We have to find our own garden.


These are Mandela’s tips to the World. He hopes the future will be a World without the necessity of paying high prices for freedom, social equality, and peace.

I read an amazing book, I learned amazing truths and I gained important insights into how to be a better person. I highly recommend it to you.

Thank you prisoner 46664!



60 years after the inhumane imprisonment of one hundred and eighty-eight thousand inmates and the execution of almost thirty-two thousand, a young (me) crossed that “factory” line. The line in which:


  • A person loses all rights but one: to beg the warders to execute you.
  • Your father is no longer yours, and your mother cannot hug you or dry your tears.
  • All your posessions will feed the expenses of the bloody war machine.
  • You go to sleep without having dinner, and instead “enjoy” a peace of old, moldy bread or simply water as a meal.


I remember I walked in a prisoner’s dormitory and my body started to sweat cold and I was shaking. I was afraid, even knowing that the days of pain and misery were far from that day. I started to loose my balance and was walking backwards and my internal compass was spinning at a dizzying speed. I was losing my equilibrium, and I could smell the urine and sweat of the prison floors. The tourists around me had vanished. I was alone. I was still stepping backwards and my hands were reaching for something to stop me. Moments later, my hands rested on something cold and damp. I regained my senses and I had control over my body once again. As I looked behind me, I found that my right hand was leaning on that bench.


That bench with the stick of punishment, one that the Lagerordnung (Disciplinary and Penal Code written for Dachau) was inviting the SS warders to use in order to punish the workers with no names. They were called people (the trend between the Lager’s prisoners was more or less 100 pounds). I jumped when I saw that bench. I was scared. I started walking towards the door to outside and I could smell myself. It was a mix of pee and sweat, and my black and white long-sleeves were dirty. I turned my head to the left and I caught a reflection of my face full of wounds and I could feel my back was painful and red red bloody. As I ran faster, the dormitory door started to close. Behind the door started to illuminate and the dream looked like it was vanishing. I knew I didn’t belong to that day, moment, or time of history. As I was running, the handle of a gun punched me in the face and I felt myself passing out. I fell into four bony arms that stopped me. I could faintly see on their wrists 102456 and 102475. I didn’t even have the time to realize what was happening and I was kneeled with bare chest exposed, blood dripping from my face. I heard Ein (one) and felt a sharp slap with a wund (painful) stick on my back. My skin swelled up in the area where the stick hit me. Then I heard Zwei (two), again the same pain but 10 times harder. I started saying the first words of “Our Father”…Drei (three)…

Once I opened my eyes, a brown haired woman was throwing water over my face. Lots of tourists from all over the world were watching me with worry. None of my classmates were there. I was lucky not to pass out in front of them. God knows how many times they would make jokes on me.


Yes, the life gave me the opportunity to travel and visit this place…


15 minutes after that episode, I finally was able to convince the lady that I was fine. I was finally free to go out and breath in some fresh air. I was walking towards the bus parking. It was early in the morning, around 10:00 AM and it was February. I remember even now after several years, how I wasn’t able to handle that cold weather. It was fogy and wet. The jacket my parents bought for me for that school trip was really warm but it didn’t matter.


The walk towards the gate of freedom was tough and the remorse was killing me. My fellow classmates were taking pictures around the memorial and by the wall of inscriptions, enjoying the day trip and laughing. From within the fence, my imagination could see around me these young and old prisoners, in their black and white uniforms, watching me with sad faces. I was disappointing them. I was giving up. I was weak, but they knew something:


I was there with a mission…


As I’m writing this article I understand why they were all watching me with sad faces. They wanted me to write this article and let the world know what happened to them and other people during that war.


Through me, that small part of the world that doesn’t know about all these humanitarian injustices, can now know more.


I hope that one day, every single person on this planet (Mr. PewDiePie included) will finally understand that we cannot trivialize what the war atrocities have brought to our planet.


Outside the fence, I turned around and read the words over the gate: ARBEIT MACHT FREI – WORK SETS YOU FREE


All those 188.000 people who stepped into that place were there with a hope. Working hard, one day, will set them free again.


Everything was a lie


I decided to return back and step by step, I walked every single centimeter of that camp. I saw the showers and the crematory. I saw things that, to imagine what they were used for, would make you vomit.




Gas Chamber

Two hours later, I began walking back towards the gate. The sky now was becoming blue and the sun was coming out. Those sad faces were sunny and they were happy. The children and their parents now were wearing their époque clothes and they were greeting me. They were walking with towards the gate to freedom.


I wasn’t cold anymore and my heart and soul were strong. I came out of that Lager more me; I came out of that camp more human…


Our society has learned a lot from these errors and has changed a little bit since then, but we still have a lot of work to do. Are we going to learn from our mistakes? Let’s begin to write a non-violent history and bring freedom to all those who cannot defend themselves.






The people rule

Before we start studying the universe, I think we should focus on something pretty important first:

1 .We decide our destiny and our voices has to be your next choices in the countries politics


2. The world consists still in a big number of slavery, women with no/impartial rights, children with no water and food access, people with a life expectancy of 35 years, religions too involved in the world’s destiny: and we want to bring the freedom


3. Nowadays, there’s still a big difference between the types of couples. We will learn to see the normality in these people because the human nature is how it is since the world was created. Is us we denied the truth and hid it.


4. The history books will be filled with the true past history and we will not publish other false stories about humanity and let the future generations be aware of them:

a. The world wants to be involved in a peaceful, equal and sunny process of giving value to our planet. Everybody wants to build a cycle of sustainable life where we don’t have to search/colonize other home planets.


5. The speed of the research will accelerate more and we will be proud of our innocent discoveries.


6. Giving a big value to what the planet gave us we will make try and find the way to replenish it, reuse it, and keep our planet shiny and smiley.


7. We want leaders with honest and strong principles: who rejects the GDP growth era and adopts the GNH( Gross National Happiness) as main goal in each country.


8. Water, food, and happiness to whom are not able to provide to themselves, and songs of trumpets of peace in conflict areas.


9. Everybody deserves to be able to raise their children in the air and see a clear and blue ski as a background.


This is the way towards the salvation of our world. We expect more from the world, and we know the humanity can!

The streets of Maastricht were humming Ave Maria


The life has been really generous with me and gave me the chance to raise my head above the crowd to see how the world truly is.

A long time ago, I visited one of the pioneer electronic music festivals, driven by teenage curiosity. Everybody at the time was talking about these amazing electronic music festivals being organized around the country.

Ave Maria and electronic music collide…

Soon you will understand the connection between the Netherlands – one of those countries you have to travel to if you want to experience the most authentic and original music innovations – and the song Ave Maria.

Ready to hear what happened to me during that short trip to the Netherlands, and how much it influenced my life?

I was driving en route back to Italy, when I realized it was the very first time in my life being in an amazing country like the Netherlands, and that it might also be the last. I would like to think of the Netherlands as an amazing country because they truly really are. Everything positive you might hear about the flat country Nederland, is true. I am quite sure it might be really hard to find a country like that.

Before visiting the House of Orange-Nassau Kingdom, I remember all these Dutch students who were coming to Italy for a week to stay with Italian families (thanks to a high school student exchange program). I was amazed by their good English and their sunny disposition all day long. I can recall even now, several years after graduation, their narrations of their exchange programs. I was convinced, and still am, that the Dutch mentality is innovative, bringing with it many revolutionary ideas to the world.

I would like to further explain to all of you why I realized the Dutch People are revolutionary.

 First of all, they love their country, and their country loves them. While the world is worried about politics and their Bloody GDP Growth (Gross Domestic Product) , the Dutch people’s toughest problem is choosing between Italy or Spain for their next summer holiday. Exactly! Their country loves them by giving them the opportunity not to worry about their jobs.

Secondly, they bike everywhere which allows them to breathe in the fresh air and live a healthy lifestyle. Because of this, they don’t need a vacation to escape to, because they live in the best place where to enjoy your fresh and clean air.

Thirdly, when the rest of the world was still thinking of ways to produce fossil fuel, most of their houses were already powered by green and renewable resources.

Well, while I was driving, the idea of leaving the country (with only with a music festival and some pictures from the highway) was killing me. I was thinking to myself:

What if I will never be able to step back into this country…would I be happy with this experience?

It was in that moment that I exited off Highway A2 (towards Belgium, then France, then Italy) and drove to the nearest town. The sun was still strong and I remember the amazing roads they had. The cute and tidy houses made of bricks or stones, were accompanying me towards downtown.

After 5 minutes I wasn’t able to drive anymore. I needed to park and continue my adventure on foot. I left the car and was walking among other people, as I listened to music on my smartphone at a high volume.

Once I arrived at the sign indicating the City Centre, I decided to grab an espresso.

Taking off my headphones, I realized the streets of Maastricht were humming the song Ave Maria

Holly tomolly, my skin was full of Goosebumps and I couldn’t control it, not even with my (insanely expensive) espresso. That song flooded my ears with a melodic tune. I was able to recognize the various instruments. My first thought was feeling happy at not leaving the Netherlands without a final stop in this beautiful city.

In my broken English, scattered with plenty of Italian words, I asked a blond haired woman, “What is happening this evening in Maastricht?” And of course, she answered me in perfect English that night the city was hosting one of the Billboard Top 25 Tours in the world. That night, destiny gave me a huge present and brought me to the most important concert that Andre Rieu organizes every single year in Maastricht since 1988.

What? I was born in 1988, have a love of music, and I’d never heard of Andre Rieu before.

After the coffee, I kept walking through the downtown and the music grew stronger and even sweeter to our ears.

My travel buddy had his camera with him and we still had our Press Badges (which sometimes allows you not to pay for expensive events).

Guess what?


Yep, we snuck in and got two free tickets as free press journalists. Smart, I know!

Within minutes, I was amazed as we listened and watched this huge stage (I found out from an Italian tourist who was there that evening that Andre Rieu’s stage that year was one of the biggest ever to go on tour). There was an amazing audience with flags in hand from all over the world.

I remember my childhood orchestra concerts in my town were nothing like that. He was winning the people’s hearts (mine too) by adopting a very simple technique: He was providing a happy and smiley atmosphere with his orchestra, not a serious and somber one.

I remember when I was younger, going to an orchestra concert and I couldn’t laugh or cough without somebody from behind me touching my back and asking you to show respect.

This man was doing what a Dutch person does. He was revolutionizing the orchestra. He was surrounding his stage with youthful and enthusiastic musicians.

He was winning the attention and the heart of a young man (me) who, until that day, knew Electronic music was his favorite music. That young man was wrong.

In 1987, his revolutionary idea of creating the Johann Strauss Orchestra was really smart. Twenty years later, he was winning me, a young and musical ignorant man. With his 1667 Stradivarius violin and his 100+ musicians behind him, he was giving to the old Waltz music a perfect revival magic. The classical works were played in such a way that the chords and the sounds of the instruments were winning my ears and heart.

That night, the two times award winner of World Music Awards, Andre Leon Marie Nicolas Rieu, an ‘’old guy’’ (born 1 October 1949) was my Orchestra DJ. On that day, I was learning something else: the importance of traveling.

Traveling gives you the chance to see how everything works from multiple perspectives.

Traveling can change the person you are and sometimes for the better. Meeting people of different cultures teaches you a better way to interact with others.

Through experiencing cultures that are different than our own, we can find a way towards an international peaceful cohabitation.

Mandela would march among the women

Being a strong Philanthropist with a core principle (Equal Rights For All regardless of race, class, GENDER…), I always want to bring my contribution or (why not?) have the power to make a difference in this world (this world, “where the law is nothing but organized force used by the Ruling Class to shape the social order in a way favorable to itself”), which seems like a wheel of negative and positive historic facts always repeat themselves.

As all men of this planet, I’m the son of a mother who was always ready to take the food from her own mouth in order to feed me; I’m the brother of a sister who is always ready to jump into the fire to help her brother; I’m the man of a woman who puts my needs before her own. For that I will always stand by the women’s side to offer my service and support their never-ending fight against:

  • unequal salaries for women’s intellectual and hard working contributions
  • victims of the men’s unfair physical force against women
  • the stubbornness of religions banning the eligibility of women as religious leaders
  • ruling against women’s right to make decisions over their own bodies
  • the adamant belief that women have to be subordinate
  • and it goes on and on…

History shows how the tribalism of men (as the only source of power) results useful, recording  more negative than positive episodes in the history book of Humanity. I will always think (and the facts are so obvious but ignored) that the women have strong powers, and one that I like so much is the ability to make men lose sight of their bitterness and persuade them to feed their core’s pride with love and kindness.

On the 21st of January, I was there (in Washington DC) Marching among the women, trying to put a wrench in the wheel and writing a positive page in the book of history. That day the women said Stop to the Inferiority, Gender inequality, Abuse and…(I’ll leave this space for you to add the others). That day, my life inspirational mentor, the Great Nelson Mandela would march among the women.

That day (in a Utopian world) an intelligent and wise President – son, father, and husband of a woman – would come out on his White House balcony and would stand in front of almost 1.000.000 women, their allies and more from around the world, to say how true their cause is and how inspired he’ll be in the future in support of the Women’s equality through his strong International influence…


How many more years do we need to wait to see a fair world where the books will not be judged by its covers anymore?

How many more Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. do we need to make this world a better world, where the world’s main issues will be nothing more than a Broken Wheel we don’t want to replace?


Pleasantly stuck in a Tablao Sevillano


Stop me while you come across and ask me to tell you a reason why I love and appreciate our amazing world, and this might be my response to your question: Because I was lucky to have the opportunity to live multiple Flamenco experiences.

How did the opportunity that you’re calling “lucky” happen?

I was younger and culturally ignorant when I decided to fly to Sevilla, España (located in Andalusia, the southern Spanish region which is considered by Spain as a continent of its own). The main reason I decided on that destination was mostly because of the cheap flights, cheap food and because our holiday consultant (Google) was linking on my computer screen to a place where you can find seas and lands to explore.

What was it instead? That trip was a lot more than what I just wrote. That mini vacation completely changed my life. Sevilla made me a better version of myself by sending me home with a huge luggage full of cultural, artistic and historic memories. Memories, that after more than 6 years later, I still vividly remember in my mind and heart.

It was the first time I was happy not being in the most famous local music club. I didn’t realize I was slowly falling in love with Andalusia. I was considering myself one of the locals (well, honestly this might happen in all the Spanish places you will visit, they have this effect on the people) and I was enjoying that sensation. They love making you feel part of that place and the most amazing thing is that wherever you go, they will always share the best quality food and drinks, the same they have on their dinner tables.

Yes but how did you find yourself Pleasantly stuck in a Tablao Sevillano?

After enjoying some early afternoon tapas (small Spanish savory dishes, typically served with drinks at a bar) and an amazing Estrella beer (served in a frozen glass) I decided to walk through the Plaza De Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Sevilla (the arena where they challenge the bulls to death) to see how it was inside. Honestly being in the middle of that arena, trying to imagine a public and a bull in front of you, makes you sweat and be nervous even if the only thing there with you is the wind blowing arena sand in your face.

After the Bull Arena I thought: And now what?

I remember walking through Paseo de Cristóbal Colón and at some point I heard (I’m always attracted to the music) a kind of music I’d never heard before. It was something like the music in this video…


(I apologize for the advertisement!)

As I walked in, my body already full of goosebumps, I payed $40.00 for the next show and a complimentary glass of wine.

The colorful room, full of Andalusian and Arabian architectural style, was crowded with people from all over the world. I knew I kinda liked the music and nothing else. At some point the show started and I realized I was loving that glass of likely Spanish red wine, so I asked for another one (I couldn’t watch the show without having a second complimentary drink).

Now here comes the best part

Three black suited guys, wearing black shoes and white shirts, walked in and sat at their chairs. All three men were preparing their guitars. The moment they started playing their instruments in an different way than I was used, I wasn’t the same man. I became the new me who understands the beauty of the world (me less ignorant). I transformed into a better person who appreciates those people with a hard mission (spreading the beauty of culture and the arts).

When they started to mix the sounds of the guitar chords with their masculine voices, my body was compulsively dancing. And then when the women walked on stage with their beautiful and colorful dresses and started to dance with those sensual body movements, I was amazed. Every single strong step on that floor vibrated to the depths of my soul. Their soft yet serious face while moving their arms and flowing skirts, made my feet dance on the floor. It was then that I saw a Japanese woman taking pictures of my feet. I started to laugh.

And the even sweeter part?

At some point, a good-looking man in his 50’s entered and immediately took possession of the stage with a non-stop 30 minutes of Cante (singhing), Baile (dance), Jaleo (vocalizations), Pitos (finger snapping) dance. I was amazed how he was able to dance without easing up for even a second. After his sweaty performance, he started to dance with the main female dancer El baile de la pasion. My level of happiness was at 100 % and I was whistling and applauding along with all the people.

That night was one of my best nights ever. That night I learned something new. I knew what it truly meant to love the culture and the arts. Since then I never stopped suggesting Sevilla with its Flamenco culture to whomever asked me about an amazing place to visit.

Later that night I found out amazing facts on the Internet about Flamenco that you might like to know:

  • Many flamenco dancers do not hit their peak until their thirties and will continue to perform into their fifties and beyond.
  • The young people are not considered to have the emotional maturity to adequately convey the duende (soul) of the genre.
  • The oldest record of Flamenco dates to 1774 in the book Las Cartas Marruecas by Jose Cadalso.
  • The genre originated in the music and dance styles of Andalusia and includes: Cante (singing), Toque (guitar playing), Baile (dance), Jaleo (vocalizations), Palmas (hand clapping), Pitos (finger snapping).
  • Tuesday the 16th of December 2010 by decision of Intergovernmental Committee of Unesco Intangible Heritage, Flamenco became part of the representative list of Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

I hope you will have the same luck to visit Sevilla and go to a Flamenco show. If not, I hope the passion in these words allow you to live vicariously through my travel adventure!


The tough transition from City Opera Hall to City Opera House

Thinking of what amazing things I have been lucky to be part of during my permanence in The States, I would like to be the voice and eyes of my fellow American friends, and share with them what I was involved in on Saturday the 4th of February 2017. The City Opera House in Traverse City, Michigan, was celebrating 125 years with a concert featuring amazing performances thanks to the collaboration of local musicians (among them, a Grammy award winning pianist Bob James, and two violists of TC Symphony Orchestra), writers (young talent of Front Street Writers Project), and actors (representing the Old Town Playhouse).

Well, the reason I used the word tough in my title is because I personally believe the history behind this amazing building is something every single person who steps into this town should know about (including Traverse City residents and nearby neighbors).

Last Saturday, the City Opera House turned 125 years old and honestly it has a lot to say about all those years full of ups and downs. Let’s start with some curious facts about the City Opera House during its notorious and ill-famed years:

  • April 1891 Traverse City starts the construction of one of now only seven historic Victorian structures in Michigan
  • The construction is completed within 9 months
  • The City Opera Hall in short time becomes the first business in town
  • The final brick of the building is laid one day before Christmas Day 1891
  • For the informal opening, almost 600 seats were occupied and the ticket price was only $1.00 which included a complimentary oyster.
  • The first decade within its walls were filled with culture, music and plays.

Sadly, the Mid-century revolution of cinematography brought with it the wave of huge troubles. The majority of people were captured by the magic of the Big Screens, putting  businesses like the Opera Hall in financial problems. In fact, in the late 1940’s, years of bad times for the United States, the Opera Hall closed its doors for the first (and hopefully last) time, abandoning the building to the worst destiny: Oblivion

On Saturday, there was a point right before Bob James’s performance when my body became full of goosebumps. It was when the MC of the night, narrated how Kenneth and Mary Zacks in 1979 got involved and created the Heritage Committee for the restoration of the today City Opera House. I was proud of two good souls I personally had never met. I was happy for the City Opera House’s happy ending.

If you want the historic City Opera House to continue being a prideful part of the community, consider becoming involved (not necessarily donating money) but by just experiencing an alternative way of entertainment. You would probably be pleasantly surprised how many wonderful memories you would create.

The tasty pulp (I love) about the amazing story of the City Opera House?

It survived 3 fires in different years: 1906, 1975, 1987 – What I read between the lines?


Traverse City should be proud of the City Opera House.


Prayer to the Great Spirit


While cleaning the house, on a random winter day, you could find that something thought to be lost forever.

Prayer to the Great Spirit

O Great Spirit,

Whose voice we hear in the wind,

And whose breath gives life to all the world,

Hear us, we come to you as one of your many children.

We are small and weak.

We need your strength and wisdom.

May we walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold

The red and purple sunset.

Make our hands respect the things you have made

And our ears sharp to hear your voice.

Make us wise that we may understand

The things you have taught our people.

Let us learn the lesson you have hidden

In every leaf and rock.

We seek strength,

Not to be greater than our brothers/sisters,

But to fight our greatest enemy – Ourselves.

To come to you with clean hands and straight eyes,

So when life fades,

As the sunset

Our spirit may come to you without shame.