Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bullets And Batons Outdid Twitter In Iran

I'm mourning, but not Michael Jackson or Farrah Fawcett. I'm mourning the death of the democratic opportunity in Iran, just as I mourned the death of the democratic opportunity in China after June 4, 1989. And just as then, the good guys didn't win, the bullets were more powerful than brittle humans made out of flesh and bones, and there was no real leadership to help them out.

And for those of you who thought twitter and Facebook could do it, well it was a nice thought. Here is a snippet from today's New York Times:

While protesters were aided at first by technology — primarily the Internet and text messaging — the government deployed its control of state television and news outlets to sweep away competing narratives.

“It is still possible that the information age will crack authoritarian structures in Iran,” wrote Jon B. Alterman, director of the Middle East program for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “But it is far more likely that the government will be able to use that technology to secure its own rule.”
Iranian Leaders Gaining the Edge Over Protesters (New York Times June 27, 2009)
Trita Parsi and Reza Aslan sums up the events in an article for Foreign Policy magazine called The End of the Beginning - What will be the legacy of the Green Revolution?
In many ways, the Ahmadinejad government has succeeded in transforming what was a mass movement into dispersed pockets of unrest. Whatever is now left of this mass movement is now leaderless, unorganized -- and under the risk of being hijacked by groups outside Iran in pursuit of their own political agendas.
(...)
Although successful at first, the discipline has clearly broken down. This should be no surprise -- the movement is by now in effect leaderless. A source close to Mousavi says that the first and second circle of people around Mousavi have all been arrested or put under house arrest. Mousavi himself has limited ability to communicate with his team and his followers. The lack of leadership is visible on the streets, where demonstrators exhibit unparalleled will and courage, but lack direction and guidance.
Hans Sandberg

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bo I Andersson Leaves GM

Bo I. Andersson, head of supply management and logistics and General Motors, and the only non-American on GM's board, is leaving the troubled auto giant. He is said to become CEO at another company, although which one is not yet clear.

Andersson joined GM in the mid-1990's and became head of GM's global supply management group in 2005, reporting to CEO Richard Wagoner Jr. (Who was forced out after the U.S. Government had to bail-out GM). Andersson was once rumoured to become the next CEO after Wagoner. When I asked him about the rumours in an interview late 2006, he answered:
“Next question…. No, I don’t think that will happen, but somebody floated my name. Do I think that it’s going to happen? Absolutely not.”

He didn't say that he didn't want to.

"Bo has made tremendous contributions to the development of our global purchasing and supply chain strategy as we've globalized our product line portfolios and manufacturing footprint," GM's new CEO Fritz Henderson said in a press comment to Andersson's departure.

“They’re going to have some very big shoes to fill,” John Henke Jr., president of supplier-research firm Planning Perspectives told Bloomberg Business News on Friday.
“He was a tough guy, but he knew his business and he knew what he had to do,” Henke said, adding that Andersson “is too good and he loves the business.”


Read my interview with Bo Andersson in Currents magazine No. 1 2007.

Hans Sandberg

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sexy Koenigsegg Buys Saab Automobile

Not, it wont be China that buys Saab Automobile from General Motors if we are to believe a report on the Swedish TV-channel SVT's news program "Rapport". Instead, it is the tiny Swedish manufacturer of extreme sports cars - Koenigsegg - that buys the Swedish auto manufcturer.

Financing for the deal comes from investors in oil-rich Norway. The details are being worked out according to the report. Koenigsegg was founded in 1994 by Christian von Koenigsegg,  a 36 year old Swedish entrepreneur. His custom made elegant cars are among the hottest things on four wheels you can buy.

Injecting Koenigsegg into Saab Automobile sounds far-off, almost whacky, but also very, very sexy, something Saab could use after having been part of big and boring GM.

Hans Sandberg

Monday, June 1, 2009

The 2009 Childhood Soccer Tournament

Childhood USA and Blatte United invited young kids from New York to a day of soccer, food, ice cream and fun at the Met Oval Foundation Soccer Field in Queens, one of New York's oldest.

Marcus Samuelsson and two young New Yorkers. 

Charlotte Brandin, Childhood USA, 
and Selim Adira, Blatte United Football Club.

About 50 kids from Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem and Queens got a chance to play soccer in the sun on Sunday, May 31st. Among the teacher were Swedish-born amateur soccer players,  including New York's famous chef, Marcus Samuelsson, and hedge fund manager Medufia "Keke" Kulego.   

-It a chance for us to highlight what childhood is about, says Charlotte Brandin, Executive Director for Childhood USA, the U.S. section of World Childhood Foundation. We hope to repeat the tournament next year, she adds. 

-It's fun to combine multiculturalism with soccer and to do it here in Queens. It's a great theme for our cooperation with Childhood USA, and a lot of fun to teach kids play soccer, Marcus Samuelsson says in break between two games.  

-We always have tournaments for adults, but we always wanted to do something for the children, says Selim Adira, whoese parents immigrated to Sweden from Marocco. He moved to New York four years ago and runs the residence for the Swedish U.S. Ambassador.  

"The 2009 Childhood Soccer Tournament" was arranged with support from Volvo Group North America and AQ Kafé. Childhood USA hopes that the soccer event will benefit its five charity partners in New York: Family Advocacy Program in Bronx, Northside Center for Child Development in Harlem; Safe Space Drop-In Center in Far-Rockaway i Queens, Chances for Children in Bronx and Inwood House in Manhattan.

-It's a fantastic thing, and the staff is doing such a wonderful job. They are really dedicated to help the children, says Maria Williams, a Queens resident whose four year old daughter join the games with gusto despite never having played soccer before. 

A four year old soccer enthusiast from Queens.

 Portia from Bronx with her youngest 
daughter, five-year old Navaia.  

-They told me about the program at the Family Advocacy Program in the Bronx. I thought it was fun. I used to play on a soccer team when I was younger, and I wanted my three daughters to get the experience, says Portia, a mother of three.

-Soccer is fun, and hard, says her oldest daughter Destiny, who is eight. She adds that the hard part is to get the ball in the net. I want to join the Bronx Rangers, she says.

-I like soccer. It was fun, and I like to run. And I made a goal, says her sister, seven-year old Jamaia.  

Terrence Johnson, a teacher at Middle School 399
in Bronx some of his eleven students 
who attended the soccer event.

-It’s a good event, because we are from Bronx, and soccer is not a game that a lot of kids get to play. They were excited to get to do something you normally don’t get to do, says Terrence Johnson, a middle school teacher from Bronx. 

Met Oval Soccer Field with Manhattan's
skyline in the background.

Marcus Samuelson teaches soccer. 

Kick off!

Ready for the game! Assistant Coach 
Mahir Ali Hossein and his team.


Marcus Samuelson instructing his soccer students. 

A student training with the Swedish hedge fund
manager and Medufia "Keke" Kulego.

Charlotte Brandin, Childhood USA and 
Christina Moliteus, SWEA and board 
member at Childhood USA.

Text & Photo: Hans Sandberg   Copyright: Hans Sandberg

Hubble Telescope Images