Hanan Ashrawi: Bridging the Gap Between Perception and Reality

Photo by Carsten Sohn

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, the most prominent face of the Palestine Liberation Organization, or PLO, was its leader, Yasser Arafat. His was an image that many associated with terrorism and violence

In the early 1990s, the PLO put forth a new spokesperson, a well dressed and articulate woman in her 40s named Hanan Ashrawi. She became well known to American television viewers as a sharp contrast to the Arafat image.

Get your copy of Hanan Ashrawi’s book

I met her in 1995, when she wrote an autobiography called This Side of Peace. And given the context of today’s events, her remarks from nearly 30 years ago still resonate.

so here now, from 1995, Hanan Ashrawi.

Hanan Ashrawi is 77 now and continues her work as a civil society activist.

Peggielene Bartels: The Woman Who Became A King

When you were a kid, did you ever have that fantasy that you were actually a prince or princess but nobody knew it?

In 2008, a telephone call to a woman who is a secretary living in suburban Washington. DC brought that fantasy to reality for her.

Her name is Peggielene Bartels, and in 2008 when her uncle passed away, she was notified that she had been chosen as the new king of the town of Otuam in her native Ghana.

Suddenly facing a dizzying array of new responsibilities, King Peggy, as she became known, embraced the new role and assumed leadership of her community.

In 2012 she told her story in a book called King Peggy and that’s when I had the chance to meet her. So here now from 2012. King Peggy.

King Peggy still works at the embassy of Ghana in Washington, and still lives in the suburbs. She is 70.

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Wangari Maathai

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Ariel Sharon And The Burden of Leadership

Israel and Hamas are at war. It’s the latest chapter in a long history of cconflict and struggle for the Jewish state

One who participated in many of those struggles and conflicts was Ariel Sharon.

I met him in the fall of 1989, when he published his autobiography, called Warrior.
So here now, from 1989, Ariel Sharon.

He was there in 1948 at the formation of the Israeli army,and rose steadily in the ranks in the years that followed.

Among the battles he saw: the 1956 Suez Crisis, the 1967 Six-Day War, the War of Attrition, and the Yom-Kippur War of 1973.

In the 1982 Lebanon War Sharon was Israel’s Minister of Defense.

And he served as prime minister of Israel from 2001 to 2006

Ariel Sharon died in 2014 just days before his 86th birthday.

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Sergei Khrushchev


At the very height of the Cold War, in the late 1950s and early ‘60s, one of the most vilified man in the world – at least in the U.S. – was Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev,

For 11 years the USSR was led by this brash, arrogant, often angry man.

You may have heard that he wants. Famously said the Soviet Union would “bury” the United States. That, however, was a mistranslation, and it was not something Khrushchev ever actually said.

Khrushchev’s second son, Sergei, was in his 20s, watching closely as his father guided the USSR. Sergei eventually became a highly educated, and well-respected, engineer in the Soviet Union.

But finally, in 1991 — the same year the Soviet Union crumbled apart — Sergei Khrushchev emigrated to the United States, and became a naturalized US citizen in 1999.

I met him two years later, when he wrote a book about his father.

So here now, from 2001, Sergei Khrushchev”

Sergei Khrushchev died just days before his 85th birthday in 2020 at his home in Rhode Island. He died of a gunshot wound to the head, but an investigation found no signs of foul play, and no criminal charges were ever filed.

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Jehan Sadat

This is a somber anniversary in the Middle East.

40 years ago today, October 6th, 1981, the long time
president of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, was assassinated during a military parade.

His killers were extremists who were outraged by his 1979 peace agreement with Israel, for which he shared the Nobel Peace Prize.

Many other people who were on the parade reviewing stand that day or either killed or injured in the gunfire.

Also on the reviewing stand that day was President Sadat’s wife, Egypt’s First Lady Jehan Sadat..

Six years later, she wrote a book. And that’s what I have the chance to meet her. So here now, from 1987, former Egyptian first lady Jehan Sadat.

The mastermind behind the assassination plot was caught, convicted, and executed in 1982.

Jehan Sadat died this past Juily. She was 88.

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Leah Rabin

Leah Rabin

Photo: Kingkongphoto

It was an iconic White House photo. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, shaking hands on a peace deal at the White House, with a smiling President Bill Clinton looking on.

Just a couple of years later, in 1995 – on this day in 1995, November 4th – Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.

Less than a year-and-a-half later, his widow, Leah Rabin, wrote a memoir. Not just a memoir of the military and political leader Yitzhak Rabin, but of the husband, father, and grandfather Yitzhak Rabin was.

So here now, from 1997, Leah Rabin

Leah Rabin died in 2000 at the age of 72.