Update on Stephane Lasme journey...

I'm quite happy to let you know that Stephane Lasme found a new place to show and express his talents as a basket-ball player, last November the Los Angeles D-Fenders, a team from the NBA development league, signed Stephane to be part of their 2007/2008 season roster.
I had a chat last week with my friend Ahmed (New York) who told me that he played regularly and he has already established himself as a serious threat defensively as he did in college.

For some of you who don't know him, Stephane Lasme (UMass) was the 2006-07 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. At 6-8, 215-pound forward he was the third player in NCAA history to record four triple-doubles in the same season and was one of only two players (Greg Oden) to rank in the top 25 in the nation in three major statistical categories as a senior and ranks 18th in NCAA history with 399 blocked shots. Prior to attending UMass, Lasme played three seasons for the Gabon National Team (2000-2003) while he was in high school.

You know what Stephane, no matter what happen tomorrow, we're proud of you man, just enjoy each minutes of this and take care of yourself...

How privilege are we?

A decade ago I had the privilege to work with some of the most dedicated people on earth through a UNDP program to give access to more freedom of communication and education via the Internet to students, teachers and anybody else in my country.

Nothing would have been possible without the work of these people who were happy to leave their comfortable life in Canada, USA or Europe to help a country and his population to fight for a better life, more freedom and the right to express themselves without having to fear for their lives.

They were the pillars of the first Internet center in Libreville (Gabon) which gave us access to a new world of knowledge and experience and an infinity of opportunities of choice to change our life and move forward with so much more confidence. And believe me on this, because I would probably not be where I'm today without this Internet Center....

Today as an analyst for IBM in UK, my life is completely different than 15, 20 years ago and I'm obviously a different person too, in 1997 me and my friends had to take on a journey to have access to a computer and connect ourselves to the Internet, most of the time we couldn't use it for more than an hour because people were queuing behind us, and the hardest part of it was the speed of the connection, which was quite slow most of the day, but as frustrating as it was sometime, to have just 60 minutes to an open window on the world, each time it was the best moment of our day.

In 2008 I've got a company laptop, another laptop at home (my partner's one), a Sony PS3 connected wireless to the Internet via my HD TV and even an wireless access trough my older son Sony PSP which tally to 4 Internet source just for one house in the south of England, quite amazing no?

Meanwhile, most people here in England or wherever in most developed countries don't really know that in Africa we've got 5 to 6 computers for 1000 people and none in some regions because of civil and ethnic war which destroyed the hope and dreams of so many Africans.

And talking about dreams : Ahmed is today an outstanding student in college in New York and plays Basket-ball at a senior level, Cesar is an accountant for UBS and plans to get married next year, Charles runs is own business in multimedia and works on different projects in Africa, Didier works and lives in France after a football career in Canada, Marius is a basket-ball superstar in Morocco and still goes to college to gain a degree, path of their lives they all started to dream about at the Internet Center in Libreville, where they all spent hours and hours to build their changing life projects by gaining the necessary knowledge to fulfill their dream.

Today I'm on the other side of the window, the privileged one. And like Ahmed, Cesar, Charles, Didier or Marius owning a computer or surfing on the net is just part of the daily thing we do so often because it makes our lives so much easier : ordering a pizza, booking a flight, chatting with some friends, watching NBA TV, reading the news, taxing our cars, looking for a new job....

I will never forget where I come from and this part of my life, the Internet Center changed the lives of so many people in my country, it was a privilege to be part of it and to meet people from a completely different horizon willing to sacrifice so many things just to help us, it was a great lesson of humanity and friendship, and a fantastic reward for so many gifted people.

Thank you

Barack Obama for President......

After a long night of speculation and uncertainties Barack Obama was the real winner of the Iowa Caucus this morning, and at the surprise of most people around the world Hillary Clinton was standing third in the democrat first round election fight.

She will probably fight back as soon as next Thursday in new Hampshire but the rise of Barack Obama in a state where most of the population is white show that his message is beyond race or religion and that the ratio of people who are desperate for a change of politics in America (young, students,women) where the one who decided to support him in Iowa last night.

Obviously this is just the first round but another defeat for the Clinton duo next week would be hard to take and probably hard to translate in positive quote or speech in bigger state like Texas, Florida or California which are today all behind Hillary, but a negative result in New Hampshire can change the balance of power and be the beginning of a real chance for Barack Obama to be the first black President of the most powerful country in the world.

As a European citizen and an African my though are more focus on foreign policy and on how his lack of experience would stand against tough decision in Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Zimbabwe, Sudan....

If Barack Obama win the 2008 election in the US, been the first US black president will send a strong message of hope around the world and specially in Africa, but it will be just the beginning, because this hope will result on massive expectation from every men or women who felt before that their difference (race, religion...) was a to big handicap for them to move forward, but with Barack Obama as the US President more people will expect more from him than any US President before and it will start with the Black and Spanish communities in America.

Like he said himself late last night :

"They said this day would never come. They said our sights were set too high. They said this country was too divided; too disillusioned to ever come together around a common purpose.

But on this January night – at this defining moment in history – you have done what the cynics said we couldn’t do; what the state of New Hampshire can do in five days; what America can do in this New Year. In schools and churches; small towns and big cities; you came together as Democrats, Republicans and Independents to stand up and say that we are one nation; we are one people; and our time for change has come

I believe he is ready for the challenge and could make a huge difference in America by being more concern and focus on health and minority issue, on energy saving and climate change but I still believe that his blank record on the International stage could be a problem when we will need the USA to make the right decision to make a huge change in most part of the world.

I called some relatives and friend this morning in my country and in South Africa and everybody seem so happy and exited about Barack Obama, but they all asked me the same question :" Do you believe that he can make a difference for us? Can he make our world, not his, better?"

Lets just hope that he can......

Happy New Year 2008....

Well after nearly 2 months away from my Blog addiction, I'm finally back to business on time to wish you all around the World an Happy new Year 2008 and the best of it (Health, Love, Peace, Money....).

As I was reading the headlines on the NY Times and the BBC this morning, I realized that 2008 didn't really start on a high state of hope and peace, the brutal death of Benazir Bhutto, the horrible pictures of terror in Kenya, another suicide bomber in the Diyala province (South of Iraq), the repeated breaches of data security in England... I could probably write an entire blog about what went wrong in the last 2 weeks around the world and this make me feel really sad, because no matter where you look or what you read, the truth is that to many innocents people dies everyday and none of our politics or economics leaders seem to care that much as long as their own interest still grow higher and higher....
But is there something I can say which would make a difference? I don't think so but will never stop to try as hard as I can.

Meanwhile this are some of my wishes for this year : I hope 2008 will be the year of a different attitude from the north toward the south, I hope that the USA will finally elect a President with a more peacefully mind and a better judgment on foreign policy, I hope that Middle East will be a land of peace, I hope that all African countries will be more open to democracy instead of tyranny, I hope that Manchester United will win the Premier league again and would love to see Asafa Powel wining a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics games.

On a personal note, all my best wishes for 2008 are for my two kids and their mum and I hope that their life get better and better day after day...

Happy New year for all of you and may 2008 be the beginning of a better world for each of us...

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