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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 14 October 2017
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 14 OCTOBER 2017 9 NEWS FEATURE I get awarded and nominated and praised. But I don’t want their awards. I want justice. drain having talent and young people leave the country to find prosperous soil to build their lives abroad – and the EU without other solutions than cuts, we see the crisis deepening and becoming a multiple political, democratic, cultural crisis, where citizens [have] lost faith in everything. How will the political system be able to restore that loss of faith and trust? Voters not only in Greece but around Europe punish politicians – and I understand them. Even I, highly educated and privileged in many ways lost faith in parties and politicians. So we need something new. When I recently received an award from the EU Commission and parliament handed out by Jean-Claude Juncker, I took the chance to talk about these challenges. Also, when I was awarded European of the Year I talked about the other Europe that is left behind. We need to keep talking and awakening. Your experience with racism has been well-documented, what has been the greatest challenge you've had to face? I lost my job after I was threatened by Nazis. Then they came to my home with weapons. The photo was sold and published in the biggest newspaper in Sweden and I lost my job because my colleagues were afraid. I lost opportunities, I see less merited and educated colleagues get jobs. I'm still seen as 'the other' and even if media managers talk about the need for inclusion and diversity they mostly appoint their clones and friends out of anxiety. I get to do what they don't dare [such as] following Roma beggars and sleeping with them under bridges. And then I get awarded and nominated and praised. But I don't want their awards. I want justice. On the other hand, every single day and everywhere, people stop [me] on the streets to say something kind and empowering. On Instagram, Twitter, [and other] social media, I receive so much support and solidarity that I feel this is a mission I have to follow. Do you feel an obligation, as a public figure, to stand up and speak up for the sake of those who do not have the chance to enter the spotlight the way you do? I feel an obligation as a human being. We're here for a short time and we need to make the best out of life for us and for others. I'm privileged. Remember where I come from - a poor, uneducated Greek migrant family. We moved to Sweden when I was six and since then I've been struggling. I grew up far from books, theatres and privileges, not in my wildest dreams could I imagine the life I live today: I've done TV - in Greece I presented the Olympics and the 2005 Eurovision song contest the only year we won; I've been awarded as a journalist, author, TV presenter and producer. I'm travelling the world speaking, empowering people to fight for justice and equality. I share my stories - it's my duty to help others, to open doors, to make society a meritocracy where you can win if you struggle. Where everybody counts the same, here human value is guaranteed. Media is a gift that you need to open up the world, act for understanding and solidarity. We can give the voiceless a voice, turn the spotlight to the shadows and thereby make this world a better place. I want to plant seeds in people that can grow. I want them to think. I want to inspire people. Members of Neo-Nazi organisation Nordfront marching in Sweden earlier this month, with a sign calling Alexandra Pascalidou ‘criminal’. What is the aftertaste of your professional involvement with the Greek media? Oh my God! This is a book I should write. I thought I was smart and then I came to Greece. A jungle. My view of my homeland was deeply glorified. Nostalgia is the best beautifying filter you can get! What does being Greek mean to you? It means all. It means being crazy enough to think you're the alpha and omega and everything in between and the ability to make fun of yourself and all the terrible things happening around you. Being Greek means talking to everybody any time without any reason, opening random conversations with strangers. Being Greek means being proud and courageous and carrying that naïve conviction inside that history has appointed you with the responsibility to teach the world and humanity how to live and prosper, to teach the world the meaning of ethos, filoxenia, democracy and all the important words and ideas we once gave the world.
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