I had worked hard to introduce the annually Scanorama Awards. It was my idea, so I had to cope with the consequences. Which I gladly did. The awards was a given thing, considering that Scanorama focused on Scandinavia and Scandinavian achievers. Awarding the most prominent professionals within six disciplines, reflecting the magazine’s content – business, culture, culinary, design, entertainment and sports – and, the icing on the cake, the Scandinavian of the Year award, was the highlight of the editorial year.
The award – made from recycled glass and aluminium and designed by Swedish industrial designer Jonas Torstensson – was first granted in 2002 to the former coroner in France, Norwegian Eva Joly, who showed no fear fighting economic crime and hunting down corrupted executives, CEOs and ministers. Protected by bodyguards 24/7 she headed the seven-year investigation into corruption in the state-owned oil company Elf Aquitaine. After that Joly was invited to her native county as an adviser to the government and was eventually asked to clean up the financial mess in Iceland by leading a team of prosecutors and investiators.
The next year, SwedeHans Blixwas the well-deserved receiver of the Scandinavian of the Year award. As head of the UN weapons inspectors he became insanely noticed when the US wanted the world to believe its lie – that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Blix stressed that there probably weren´t any and asked for more time to investigate. President George W. Bush persisted. He pushed the button and the rest is sad history.
I met Blix in his 1930s apartment in Stockholm for the interview and was pleased that he showed patience with my newly obtained understanding for his job, and my imperfect knowledge of the details of the UN weapons inspectors task. He also showed patience in the studio, where Philip Laurell had him boxed-in for several hours for the cover shoot.
At the Scanorama Awards celebration, Blix arrived in very good mood and praised SAS for its punctuality and the way the airline company always made him feel at home.
I hope he feels the same today.