Transcript: An Anti-Nationalist Mayor | Oct 03, 2018

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and spotted brown tie.

A caption on screen reads "An anti-nationalist mayor. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says THESSALONIKI IS THE SECOND
LARGEST CITY IN GREECE.
IT'S BOTH ANCIENT AND MODERN, AS
MUCH OF THAT COUNTRY IS.
IN BETWEEN, IT WAS A JEWEL IN
THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE AND A
MULTICULTURAL BEACON IN THE
PRE-WORLD WAR I ERA.
AND THAT IS THE THESSALONIKI
THAT ITS CURRENT MAYOR HAS BEEN
WORKING TO RECONNECT WITH SINCE
HE TOOK THE OATH OF OFFICE IN
2011 AT SOME VERY REAL PERSONAL
COST TO HIMSELF.
HE IS YIANNIS BOUTARIS AND HE
JOINS US NOW FOR MORE.

Yiannis is in his seventies, clean-shaven, with short white hair. He's wearing round glasses, a gray suit and a blue shirt.

Steve continues YIANNIS BOUTARIS, IT IS SO GOOD
TO MEET YOU, AND THANK YOU FOR
MAKING SOME TIME FOR US AT TVO
TONIGHT.
I DON'T WANT TO ASSUME THAT
EVERYBODY KNOWS WHERE YOUR CITY
IS, SO WE'RE GOING TO BRING UP A
MAP JUST SO WE CAN LET EVERYBODY KNOW.
EVERYBODY KNOWS ATHENS.

A world map pops up and homes in on Greece, in Mediterranean Europe, then into Thessaloniki, north of Athens.

Steve continues THEY MAY NOT KNOW THESSALONIKI,
BUT THERE IT IS, IN NORTHERN
GREECE, AND IT IS A VERY, VERY,
VERY OLD CITY.

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Thessaloniki by numbers."

Steve reads data from the slate and says
FOUNDED IN 315 BC, IT IS OF
COURSE THE SECOND-LARGEST CITY IN GREECE.
IT HAS A POPULATION OF A LITTLE
OVER A MILLION PEOPLE.
IT IS THE CAPITAL OF THE
NORTHERN PROVINCE OF MACEDONIA,
AND PEOPLE MAY ALSO KNOW IT BY
ANOTHER NAME, Salonika,
AS IT IS ALSO KNOWN.
I WANT TO START, AND AS WE TALK,
I'M GOING TO ASK OUR DIRECTOR TO
BRING UP SOME PICTURES OF YOU,
BECAUSE THERE WAS A VERY
DRAMATIC EPISODE THAT HAPPENED
TO YOU EARLIER THIS YEAR.
IN MAY YOU RETURNED TO YOUR JOB
AFTER HAVING HAD HEART SURGERY.
YOU PLANNED TO ATTEND AN ANNUAL
EVENT, THE COMMEMORATION OF THE
GENOCIDE OF THE PONTA GREEKS IN
THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE DURING WORLD WAR I.
GO AHEAD, SHELDON, LET'S SHOW THESE PICTURES.
WHAT HAPPENED AS YOU ARRIVED?

Pictures flash by in which protesters are kicking Yiannis as he tries to get up from the ground.

The caption changes to "Yiannis Boutaris. Mayor of Thessaloniki."
Then, it changes again to "A world of rising intolerance."

Yiannis says WELL, THERE WAS A KIND OF
UNREST IN CERTAIN SPOTS.
THE GATHERING WAS MORE THAN
2,000 PEOPLE.
THEY WERE SHOUTING AT ME, LEAVE,
YOU HAVEN'T GOT ANY PLACE HERE,
THINGS LIKE THAT.
AND EVERYBODY STARTED GATHERING
AROUND ME, AND IT BECAME A
LITTLE DANGEROUS.
I DIDN'T... LIKE THAT, AND THEN
MY TWO BODY GUARDS, THEY TRIED
TO PUSH ME OUT OF THE CROWD AND
TAKE ME TO THE CAR SO I COULD
LEAVE, AND THEN IT HAPPENED.
THEY KICKED ME, THEY BIT ME,
THEY THREW ME DOWN AND EVEN
DESTROYED THE CAR.

Steve says HOW OLD ARE YOU, MAY I ASK?

Yiannis says I WAS BORN IN 1942, SO I'M 76.

Steve says YOU'RE 76.
THEY BEAT UP A 76-YEAR-OLD MAN.
WE SAW, YOU GOT SHOVED TO THE GROUND.
THEY HAD TO WHISK YOU OUT OF THERE.

Yiannis says YEAH.
YEAH, IT HAPPENS.
WHEN YOU HAVE FANATIC CROWDS.
AND I... THE POLICE FOUND IT.
DIDN'T... THESE PEOPLE, 16
PEOPLE WERE ARRESTED.
THESE 16 PEOPLE, ALL ARE EXTREME
RIGHT IDEOLOGY.

Steve says WE SHOULD JUST PUT
THIS UP, BECAUSE THE GOLDEN DON
HAS GAINED A GREAT DEAL OF
ATTENTION, NOT NECESSARILY SO
MANY SEATS.
I THINK THEY'VE ONLY HAD SAY,
BETWEEN, 17 AND 26 SEATS IN THE
PARLIAMENT, SO NOT THAT MANY SEATS.

Yiannis says THEY HAVE TWO SEATS IN OUR
MUNICIPALITY.
AND ONE OF THE REASONS THEY HATE
ME IS IN 2014 I WON THE ELECTION
AGAIN, AND DURING THE OATH,
PROTESTING THE PRESENCE OF THE
GOLDEN DON...

Steve says YOU SAY THEY'RE NAZIS.
TAKE A LOOK AT THEIR LOGO.
GO AHEAD, SHELDON, PUT IT UP.

A logo pops up. It is shaped as a squared curving black line with a white outline, over a dark orange background, closely resembling a Nazi swastika.

Steve continues THAT LOOKS A BIT LIKE A
SWASTIKA, YOU HAVE TO ADMIT.
THERE IT IS.

Yiannis says I HAD THE YELLOW STAR OF
DAVID FOR ME SO THEY COULD
DECLARE MY PROTEST...

Steve says AND THERE YOU ARE, WEARING
THAT STAR.

In a picture, Yiannis wears a yellow Star of David on his coat lapel.

Steve says YEAH, AS JEWS HAD TO
WEAR DURING THE WORLD WAR II YEARS.

Yiannis says YEAH.

Steve says I SHOULD HAVE ASKED,
WERE YOU HURT DURING THE ATTACK?

Yiannis says WELL, I HAD SOME PROBLEMS,
SOME HEADACHES.

Steve says YOU SEEM IN GOOD SHAPE
TODAY, I'M GLAD TO SEE.
LET ME READ THIS.
THIS IS AN EXCERPT FROM THE NEW
REPUBLIC AND WILL SET UP THE
NEXT PART OF OUR CONVERSATION.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "When fascists turn violent." The quote reads "IN THE LAST YEAR, THOUGH, A STARTLING RESURGENCE OF XENOPHOBIC VIOLENCE HAS again WORRIED OBSERVERS. FROM 2016 to 2017, THE NUMBER OF HATE CRIMES DOCUMENTED BY THE Hellenic Police MORE THAN DOUBLED, GROWING FROM 84 TO 184 INCIDENTS. IN EARLY 2018, THE VIOLENCE SHOWED LITTLE SIGNS OF LETTING UP. FUELLED BY FRUSTRATION OVER THE
REFUGEE CRISIS, ANGER OVER THE MACEDONIA NAME TALKS, SIMMERING TENSIONS WITH TURKEY, AND DISCONTENT WITH THE LEFT-WING LED GOVERNMENT, PROTESTS WERE STAGED IN SEVERAL CITIES, AND XENOPHOBIC VIOLENCE REGULARLY MADE HEADLINES. PAKISTANI MIGRANT WORKERS WERE ATTACKED IN THEIR HOMES AND FIELDS. REFUGEES WERE PELTED WITH BOTTLES AND STONES ON GREEK ISLANDS, AND NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS WORKING WITH REFUGEES RECEIVED A SPATE OF DEATH THREATS. JEWISH MEMORIALS AND CEMETERIES WERE DESECRATED SEVERAL TIMES IN THESSALONIKI."
Quoted from Patrick Strickland, The New Republic. August 3, 2018.

Steve says I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS
GOLDEN DON AND HOW MUCH OF A
THREAT YOU THINK THEY TRULY ARE
TO CIVILIZED LIFE IN GREECE.

Yiannis says WELL, LOOK, GOLDEN DON IS
PART OF LIFE, I WOULD SAY.
THEY FOLLOWED RIGHT AND THE
NAZI... AND ALL OVER EUROPE.
AND NOT ONLY EUROPE.
WE SEE EVEN IN THE STATES.
SO I THINK THAT... THE THING IS
HOW THIS CAN BE KEPT ON THE
LOWER LEVEL.
SO THE GROWTH OF THE GOLDEN DON
ACTIVITIES I THINK ITS REASON IS
THE CRISIS.
IN GREECE WE HAVE ECONOMIC
CRISIS.
AND EUROPE.
WE CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHAT
HAPPENS, WHY THE CRISIS, WHY WE
LOST 25 percent OF OUR INCOME, GROSS
NATIONAL INCOME.
WHY ALL THESE THINGS HAPPENING,
WHY WE IN THIS CRISIS, AND SO
WHEN YOU CANNOT EXPLAIN
SOMETHING, YOU GET ANGRY.
AND THEN YOU GET ANGRY YOU ARE
EASILY LED BY EASY SOLUTIONS
THAT HE IS TO BLAME.
THE REFUGEES ARE TO BLAME, THE
PAKISTANIS ARE TO BLAME, THE
JEWS ARE TO BLAME.
THEY TRY TO BLAME THE EVERYDAY
PERSON... THEY TRY TO... IT'S
NOT THEIR FAULT, IT'S NOT THE
GOVERNMENT'S FAULT.
IT'S SOMEBODY ELSE'S.
THE AMERICAS, THE GERMANS, NOW
IT'S THE JEWS OR THE REFUGEES.

Steve says YOU GOT TO FIND A
VILLAIN SOMEWHERE.

Yiannis says YEAH.

Steve says LET ME ASK YOU, ONE OF
THE OTHER THINGS REFERENCED IN
THAT NEW REPUBLIC PIECE WAS THE
NEGOTIATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN
GOING ON BETWEEN THE FORMER
YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA,
AS IT HAS BEEN DONE, A RATHER
CUMBERSOME NAME, BUT THERE IT
IS, AND GREECE.
BOTH SETS OF NEGOTIATORS
EVENTUALLY SATISFIED THEMSELVES
ON A COMPROMISED NAME FOR THIS
FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC.
THEY'VE DECIDED TO CALL IT
NORTHERN MACEDONIA.
OBVIOUSLY LOTS OF UNHAPPINESS ON
BOTH SIDES.
I'D BE INTERESTED IN WHAT YOUR
VIEW IS ON THAT.

A map of Greece pops up showing the surrounding countries, including Macedonia.

Yiannis says THE PROBLEM IS NOT... THE
PROBLEM IS MORE THAN 200 YEARS
OLD, AND THE THINGS THAT...
AFTER THE FALLING APART OF THE
EAST BLOCK, LET'S SAY, AND AFTER
THE FALLING APART OF YUGOSLAVIA,
WHICH SPLIT INTO MANY DIFFERENT
STATES, AND THE DEMOCRACY OF
MACEDONIA, WHICH IS PART OF
YUGOSLAVIA WAS... AGREED TO BE
CALLED THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIC
REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA UNTIL THEY
FOUND A SOLUTION FOR THE NAME.
NOW WE COULDN'T FIND A SOLUTION
FOR MORE THAN 25 YEARS, SINCE
'90, IN THE '90S, AND MOST OF
THE COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD
RECOGNIZE IT AS THE REPUBLIC OF
MACEDONIA.
WE DIDN'T AGREE, AND SO THEY...
AND THEY COULDN'T... BECAUSE YOU
NEED UNANIMOUS DECISION.
NOW I THINK THAT WHEN YOU COME
TO AN AGREEMENT AND YOU HAVE
DISCUSSIONS AND YOU HAVE
NEGOTIATIONS AND YOU COME TO AN
AGREEMENT, YOU LOSE SOMETHING
AND YOU WIN SOMETHING.
NOW I THINK THAT IT'S... I DON'T
KNOW ANY OTHER CASE IN THE WORLD
HISTORY THAT A STATE WHO IS
WILLING TO CHANGE THE NAME,
CALLING FORMER YUGOSLAV
REPUBLIC, REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA,
WITHOUT WAR.

Steve says WITHOUT WAR?

Yiannis says YEAH.

Steve says BUT GREEKS DON'T LIKE
MACEDONIANS USING MACEDONIA IN
THE NAME OF THEIR COUNTRY.
HOW COME?

Yiannis says I THINK IT'S A
MISUNDERSTANDING BECAUSE
MACEDONIA IS A HUGE TERRITORY,
AND AFTER WORLD WAR I IT DIVIDED
IN SIX PIECES.
ONE OF IT WENT DOWN TO GREECE,
50 percent INTO GREECE.
30 percent INTO NORTHERN MACEDONIA, AND
16 percent INTO BULGARIA.
I COME FROM THIS AREA, AND I
DON'T REALLY MIND VERY MUCH... I
HEARD AND I HEARD MAINLY BECAUSE
IT WAS SAID THAT THEY ARE
STRAIGHT... THEY COME DOWN FROM
ALEXANDER THE GREAT, WHICH IS
TOTALLY WRONG.
IT'S FOOLISH, BECAUSE THE SLAVS,
THEY CAME TO THE AREA 600...
AFTER 600 YEARS AFTER CHRIST.
IT WAS CREATED 300 YEARS BEFORE
CHRIST, SO IT'S NOT POSSIBLE.
I THINK THAT EVENTUALLY BECAUSE
WE ARE VERY GOOD FRIENDS, AND
EVERYDAY LIFE WE ARE VERY GOOD
FRIENDS.
THESSALONIKI, WE GO TO SKOPIA,
IT'S NORMAL, AND I THINK THAT
WHENEVER YOU MAKE NEGOTIATIONS,
WHENEVER YOU TRY TO MAKE AN
AGREEMENT, YOU HAVE TO GIVE
SOMETHING ALSO.
AND YOU DON'T HAVE ONLY TO TAKE.
SO THAT'S THE CASE.

Steve says I WANT TO... SHELDON,
IF YOU WOULD, TO PUT UP... LET'S
GO PICTURES FOUR, FIVE, SIX AND SEVEN.
WE... HERE'S YOU.
HERE'S YOU PARTICIPATING IN THE...

Yiannis says OH, THE GAY PRIDE, YEAH.

In a picture, demonstrators hold up a massive pride flag outdoors. In another picture, Yiannis marches in a parade. Then another picture shows a desecrated Jewish cemetery with blue graffiti on many tombstones.

Steve says GAY PRIDE EVENT, YES.
EARLIER THIS YEAR, THE HOLOCAUST
MEMORIAL AT ARISTOTLE UNIVERSITY
WAS VANDALIZED.
POLITICIANS SEEMED TO USE...
OPENLY USE ANTI-SEMITIC EPITHETS
AGAINST YOU.
YOU HAVE ALSO MADE PAST COMMENTS
ON THE TURKS, WHICH HAS I GUESS
BEEN SEEN BY MANY AS TO HAVE
FUELLED THE ANGER BEHIND THE
ATTACK IN MAY, THE ATTACK WE
TALKED ABOUT OFF THE TOP.
YOU HAVE SAID THE TURKS ARE OUR
BROTHERS, AND I'M QUOTING YOU
HERE: I DON'T GIVE A SHIT IF ATA
TURK KILLED GREEKS.
WHAT'S MY QUESTION.
MY QUESTION IS DO YOU GO LOOKING
FOR TROUBLE?
I GUESS THAT'S THE QUESTION.

The caption changes to "Yiannis Boutaris, @BoutarisIoannis."

Yiannis says NO, I GUESS SOMETIMES I
CANNOT CLOSE MY MOUTH.
THE THING IS THAT WE TOOK OVER
THE MUNICIPALITY, I SAID THAT
YOU COULD NOT BUILD YOUR
FUTURE... I SAID TO MY
COUNCILLORS, YOU CANNOT BUILD
YOUR FUTURE UNLESS YOU KNOW YOUR
PAST.
THE PAST OF THE CITY.
MORE THAN 2,500 YEARS OF
HISTORY, GREEK, ROMAN, OTTOMAN,
AND AT THE SAME TIME
THESSALONIKI, AS YOU PROBABLY
KNOW, IF YOU DON'T KNOW I'LL
TELL YOU THAT, THESSALONIKI
IS... REFUGEES.
THE FIRST BIG WAVE OF REFUGEES
CAME FROM SPAIN, THE JEWS FROM SPAIN.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says LET ME PICK UP ON THAT.
I HAVE SOMETHING I WANT TO READ
HERE THAT WILL HELP PUT THAT
INTO PERSPECTIVE.
SHELDON, BOARD THREE, PLEASE, IF
YOU WOULD.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "A layered history." The quote reads "THEY CALL THIS PLACE THE CITY OF GHOSTS. FOR CENTURIES IT WAS A MAJOR TRADING PORT, SECOND ONLY TO CONSTANTINOPLE in the Byzantine Empire. THEN in 1430, THE OTTOMANS CAME, BRINGING with them ISLAM AND ITS minarets. 60 YEARS later, Ferdinand and Isabella of SPAIN ORDERED JEWS WHO DID NOT CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY TO GET OUT OF THEIR
COUNTRY. AROUND 20,000 CAME TO THESSALONIKI, WELCOMED BY THE OTTOMANS WHO HAD SEEN THEM THRIVE IN SPAIN AND BELIEVED THEY HAD SOMETHING TO OFFER. THEY WERE RIGHT. FOR ALMOST 500 YEARS JEWISH LIFE FLOURISHED IN THE CITY, WHICH SPROUTED ALMOST 30 SYNAGOGUES, SITTING PEACEABLY ALONGSIDE ITS MOSQUES AND CHURCHES. THE JEWS EVEN BECAME A MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION UNTIL GREECE RECLAIMED THE CITY IN 1912, driving OUT THE MUSLIMS AND RESETTLING GREEKS THERE IN GREAT NUMBERS.
LAYERS OF HISTORY SIT LIKE SEDIMENT ON THESSALONIKI."
Quoted from David Patrikarakos, Politico. July 27, 2015.

Steve says I WANT TO KNOW WHETHER YOU THINK
THE PEOPLE OF THESSALONIKI TODAY
UNDERSTAND THAT THEY ONCE HAD A
VERY MULTICULTURAL HISTORY A
CENTURY AND MORE AGO.

The caption changes to "A city of ghosts."

Yiannis says WELL, I THINK THAT THEY
STARTED UNDERSTANDING, AND I
WILL TELL YOU WHY.
WHEN I SAY THAT, I MEANT THAT WE
HAVE TO BRING UP THE HISTORY OF
THESSALONIKI BECAUSE THE HISTORY
OF THESSALONIKI, AND DON'T
FORGET THAT... THE CREATOR OF
THE TURK TISH DEMOCRACY WAS BORN
IN THESSALONIKI.
HE WAS HOUSED IN THESSALONIKI.
AND IT'S NOW USED AS A MUSEUM
FOR THESSALONIKI.
AND WHEN WE SAID THAT... WE
BROUGHT IT UP BECAUSE
EVERYTHING, THE BEHAVIOUR OF
PEOPLE OF THESSALONIKI TOWARDS
THE JEWS WAS HIDDEN.
NOBODY SPOKE ABOUT IT.
THIS IS... CITY OF GHOSTS.
AND IT GAVE THE TURKS A FEELING
WHICH ARE BAD.
AND WHEN I SAY THAT I FEEL BAD
ABOUT THE TURKS BECAUSE WE LIVE
FOR 500 YEARS TOGETHER.
WE HAD VERY MANY SAME CUSTOMS,
THE SAME FOOD, SAME BEHAVIOURS.
THEY ARE MUSLIMS, WE ARE
CHRISTIANS.

Steve says BUT THAT WAS THEN,
THIS IS NOW, AND THERE'S A LOT
MORE ANGST ABOUT TURKS, ABOUT
SYRIANS, ABOUT REFUGEES, ABOUT
EVERYTHING NOWADAYS.

Yiannis says YOU ARE RIGHT, BUT THE THING
IS THAT A COMMON PERSON DOESN'T
CARE ABOUT POLITICS.
SO WHEN WE GO TO ISTANBUL OR TO
PONTUS, WE GO TO THE HOUSES OF
OUR ANCESTORS AND FATHERS AND
GREAT-FATHERS, THE SAME THING
FUELS THE TURKS THEN BECOMES
THESSALONIKI VISIT EITHER THE
HOUSE OR THE HOUSES IN
THESSALONIKI.
THEY COME TO THE MUNICIPALITY
AND THEY ASK FOR MAPS AND TRY TO
FIND THE HOUSE OF THEIR
GRANDPARENTS.
SO WHEN I TOOK OVER, THERE WAS
NOT MORE THAN 5,000 TURKS IN
THESSALONIKI.
NOW THERE ARE MORE THAN 100,000.
THIS IS THE ONLY...

Steve says 100,000 TURKS VISITING
THAT MUSEUM EVERY YEAR?

Yiannis says EVERY YEAR.
FOR THE LAST YEARS.
AND SAME THING HAPPENS WITH
ISRAELIS.
THEY COME FROM ALL OVER, EITHER
FROM ISRAEL.
WE HAVE TWO FLIGHTS PER DAY FROM
ISTANBUL.
WE HAVE ONE REGULAR FLIGHT FROM
TEL AVIV, AND THE JEWS, THEY
COME FROM ISRAEL OR THEY COME
FROM THE UNITED STATES, ALL OF
THEM, THEY WANT TO FIND OUT WHAT
THIS IS, SO WE DECIDED TO BUILD
A MUSEUM IN THESSALONIKI.

Steve says THERE IS A PLANNED
HOLOCAUST MUSEUM OF GREECE,
PLANNED FOR THESSALONIKI.

Yiannis says YEP.

Steve says I THINK WE HAVE IT...
THERE IT IS RIGHT THERE.
THAT'S AN ARTIST'S RENDERING OF
IT RIGHT THERE.

An architectural rendering pops up, showing a cylindrical modern building surrounded by parks.

Yiannis says YES.

Steve says WHEN DO YOU THINK
THAT... YOU'RE HOPEFUL THAT WILL
BE FINISHED?

Yiannis says START BEING BUILT IN THE NEXT
FEW MONTHS OF NEXT YEAR.
NOW THE THING IS THAT IT'S NOT
GOING TO BE JUST A MUSEUM OF THE
HOLOCAUST.
IT'S GOING TO BE A MUSEUM AND AN
EDUCATIONAL CENTRE FOR THE CITY
OF THESSALONIKI SO THAT IT
WILL... WHY THESSALONIKI IS
CALLED THE... WELCOME.
WHY IS THESSALONIKI CALLED
MOTHER OF ISRAEL?
WHY IS THESSALONIKI WAS
FLOURISHING WITH THE PRESENCE OF
THE JEWISH COMMUNITY?
SO WE WILL TRY THROUGH THIS
MUSEUM TO GIVE TO THE VISITORS
WHO DON'T KNOW THE HISTORY,
WHICH IS HIDDEN.
WE TRY TO GIVE THEM THE FEELING
TO BE PROUD.
THESSALONIKI WAS MULTINATIONAL
AND MULTICULTURAL.
IT CANNOT BE AGAIN THE SAME
THING, BUT WE CAN HAVE LESSONS
FROM THIS.

Steve says DO YOU FEAR THAT BY
BUILDING THIS MUSEUM IN
THESSALONIKI THAT YOU WILL
INFLAME THE PASSIONS OF THE HARD
RIGHT AND MAKE RECONCILIATION
MORE DIFFICULT?

Yiannis says NO, I FEEL THAT WE CAN MANAGE
IT AND WE CAN MAKE PEOPLE OF
THESSALONIKI LOVE THE CITY,
BECAUSE THE CITY IS
MULTICULTURAL AND MULTINATIONAL.
THE SAME WAY IT WAS IN THE MORE
THAN 35 SYNAGOGUES, ALL OF THEM
WERE DESTROYED.
I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY MOSQUES
AND MINARETS WERE DESTROYED.
NOWADAYS WHEN THEY HAVE ALL
THESE FLOODS OF REFUGEES, EITHER
FROM SYRIA OR PAKISTAN OR
BANGLADESH OR AFGHANISTAN, THEY
ARE COMING, THEY WANT TO FIND A
PLACE TO LIVE IN PEACE.

Steve says RIGHT.
I SHOULD ASK YOU ABOUT YOUR OWN
POLITICAL FUTURE.
YOU'RE ONLY 76.
DO YOU PLAN TO RUN FOR
RE-ELECTION NEXT SPRING?

Yiannis says I'M NOT VERY SURE YET.
I'LL DECIDE AROUND CHRISTMAS.

Steve says THAT'S INTERESTING.
THAT'S NOT A NO.
MOST PEOPLE AT 76 HAVE HAD THEIR
FILL OF PUBLIC LIFE.

Yiannis says WELL, I HAD MY SHARE, YES.
THIS IS TRUE, I HAD MY SHARE.
BUT THIS PARTY THAT WE ORGANIZED
AND WE WON TWO ELECTIONS WITH,
IT'S AN INDEPENDENT PARTY.
I DON'T LOVE PARTIES, POLITICAL
PARTIES.
I DON'T BELONG TO ANYTHING.
I HAVE IDEOLOGIES.
I'M A SOCIAL DEMOCRAT, BUT I'M
INDEPENDENT.

Steve says YOU'RE VERY
INDEPENDENT, I CAN TELL, BECAUSE
MR. MAYOR, I DON'T KNOW ANY
76-YEAR-OLDS WHO HAVE AN
EARRING.
YOU HAVE AN EARRING.
WHAT'S THE STORY BEHIND THAT?

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

Yiannis says WHEN MY GRANDDAUGHTER WAS
BORN, I BELONG TO A TRIBE IN
GREECE THAT LIVES IN
NORTHWESTERN MACEDONIA UP IN THE
MOUNTAINS, AND MOST OF THEM ARE
IMMIGRANTS FROM ALL OVER THE
WORLD.
SO THEY HAVE THIS CUSTOM THAT...
MY FATHER WORE AN EARRING UNTIL
HE WAS 16, SO I WEAR THIS
EARRING FOR WHEN MY
GRANDDAUGHTER WAS BORN, WHICH
I'M IN LOVE WITH HER.
SHE'S 22 NOW, SHE JUST GRADUATED
FROM NYU IN MUSICAL THEATRE, AND
WHEN SHE WAS BORN MY WIFE, MY
LATE WIFE WAS CALLED FATIMA, AND
I PUT THIS EARRING IN.

Steve says HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU PUT
THE EARRING IN?

Yiannis says 23 YEARS AGO.

Steve says THAT'S AN INTERESTING STORY.

Yiannis says VERY SENTIMENTAL.

Steve says VERY GOOD.
I DO WANT TO... I HATE TO END
THIS ON A NEGATIVE NOTE, BUT I
DO WANT TO KNOW WHETHER YOU
THINK THE PEOPLE OF GREECE ARE
OPEN TO A MORE... ARE OPEN TO A
POLITICAL FUTURE THAT IS LESS
EXTREME, LESS AT THE MARGINS AND
MORE COMING TOGETHER AROUND SOME
SHARED VALUES IN THE MIDDLE.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?

The caption changes to "Combatting hate."

Yiannis says I'M NOT VERY OPTIMISTIC,
STEVE, AND I'LL TELL YOU WHY.
THROUGH THIS CRISIS THAT COVERS
ALL EUROPE, PORTUGAL, CYPRUS,
ALL THESE OTHER COUNTRIES, ALL
THE PARTIES, THEY SIT AT THE
TABLE AND THEY READ CERTAIN THINGS.
IN GREECE INSTEAD OF SITTING AT
A TABLE TO AGREE ON CERTAIN
THINGS, THEY HAVE TO BE DONE,
EITHER CHANGES IN THE GOVERNMENT
OR CHANGES IN THE TAXATION
SYSTEM, EDUCATION SYSTEM,
WHATEVER, THEY DIDN'T SIT AT THE
TABLE.
EVEN THE MACEDONIAN PROBLEM,
THEY DIDN'T SIT AT A TABLE TO
SEE HOW IT WOULD BE SOLVED.
IT WAS A DECISION OF THE
GOVERNMENT.
NOW THIS BEHAVIOUR OF THE
PARTIES, IT DOESN'T GIVE ME A
HOPE THAT THINGS WILL BECOME
BETTER.

Steve says IF THE ECONOMIC
PROSPECTS OF GREECE AS A WHOLE
WERE TO IMPROVE, DO YOU THINK
THAT WOULD REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF
DISTRUST AND SOMETIMES HATRED OF
STRANGERS?

Yiannis says DEFINITELY.
MONEY IS A WAY OF SOLVING
PROBLEMS, BUT IT'S NOT THE ONLY
WAY.
THE ONLY WAY TO SOLVE THIS KIND
OF PROBLEMS IS THROUGH
EDUCATION, SAYING THE TRUTH TO
THE PEOPLE AND NOT JUST
BEAUTIFYING THINGS.
MONEY BEAUTIFIES THINGS.
YOU DON'T HAVE MONEY, YOU ARE
ANGRY, YOU GET FRUSTRATED.
AND YOU THINK IF YOU HAVE MONEY,
YOU CAN BUY NEW CLOTHES, YOU CAN
GO FOR A TRIP, AND IT MAKES YOU
FEEL EVERYTHING IS GOOD, WHICH
IT'S NOT.

Steve says HOW MUCH DO YOU BLAME,
FOR EXAMPLE, THE INTERNATIONAL
MONETARY FUND FOR STICKING TO...

Yiannis says I DON'T BLAME THEM.

Steve says MANY GREEKS WOULD BE
TOO HARD ALIGNED WHEN IT CAME TO
GREECE MAKING ITS REPAYMENTS.

Yiannis says I THINK THAT IF WE DID WHAT
WE AGREED TO DO ON THE FIRST
OF... WOULD BE MUCH, MUCH BETTER.
WE DIDN'T DO WHAT WE OUGHT TO DO.

Steve says HMM.
I THINK PART OF WHAT YOU'RE
ABOUT, THOUGH, IS TRYING TO GET
OTHER PEOPLE TO OPEN UP THEIR
HEARTS A LITTLE BIT TO PEOPLE
WHO ARE NOT LIKE THEM.
CAN THAT HAPPEN IN TODAY'S GREECE?

Yiannis says LOOK, I'LL TELL YOU ONE
THING.
THE BISHOP OF THESSALONIKI IS A
VERY, VERY CONSERVATIVE PERSON.
HE'S HONEST.
HE'S STRAIGHT, BUT HE'S FAR
RIGHT.
SO IN 2010 DURING THE ELECTION I
SAID THAT THE BISHOP REMINDS ME
OF A... AND WHEN I WENT TO
CHURCH, HE SAID SOMETHING TO ME
LIKE YOU CALLED ME A JACK A
DEAN.
YOU NEVER SEE MAYOR'S CHAIR.
HE'S SAYING THIS INSIDE THE
CHURCH.
AND I THINK THIS GAVE ME THE
300-VOTE MARGIN THAT I WON THE
ELECTION WITH AT THAT TIME.
BECAUSE EVEN THE FAR RIGHT
PEOPLE DIDN'T AGREE THAT THE
PRIEST, A PRIEST, THE CHURCH
WOULD DECIDE WHO WOULD BE THE
MAYOR OF THESSALONIKI.
SO AFTER I WON, I WENT TO HIM
AND I SAID, LOOK, I WANTED TO
SUGGEST TO BECOME FRIENDS, BUT
YOU ARE THE RELIGIOUS HEAD OF
THE CITY AND I'M THE POLITICAL
HEAD.
WE HAVE TO GIVE AN EXAMPLE OF
SOLVING PROBLEMS.
AND I PRAISED HIM FOR THAT.
SINCE THEN, SINCE 2011 WE
COOPERATE VERY WELL TOGETHER.
BUT THE THING IS THAT... THIS IS
EXAMPLE.
IN 2012 WE HAD THE GAY PRIDE AND
THE GAY PARADE, AND HE WAS
FURIOUS, AND HE CALLED ME.
AND I SAID WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?
THESE ARE PEOPLE.
THEY ARE DIFFERENT.
NOBODY CAN MANAGE IT.
THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO EXPRESS
THEIR OWN FEELINGS ONCE A YEAR
IN PUBLIC SO THAT THEY CAN SAY
THAT WE ARE DIFFERENT.
SO WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?
AND AFTER DISCUSSING FOR A LOT
OF TIME HE SAID, OKAY, BUT DON'T
PASS IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH.

Steve says WERE YOU OKAY WITH THAT?

Yiannis says YEAH.

Steve says NICE COMPROMISE.

Yiannis says THE PROBLEM WAS SOLVED.
IT WAS A GOOD COMPROMISE FOR HIM
AND FOR ME.
SO WE HAVE IN 2020 WE WANT THE
EUROPEAN GAY PRIDE EVENT, IT'S
MORE THAN 15 DAYS, TO HAPPEN IN
THESSALONIKI AND WE WANT IT
BECAUSE WE SHOW TO EVERYBODY
THAT WE ARE ACCEPTING OF
DIFFERENCES.
NOT ONLY ACCEPT, WE LIKE
DIFFERENCES.
AND I SAY TO EVERYBODY, LOOK AT
YOUR FINGERS.
ARE ALL OF THEM THE SAME?
NO.
SO YOU MUST ACCEPT THE
DIFFERENCE.
IT'S ABSOLUTE NORMAL.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcasts: tvo.org/theagenda."



Steve says YOU KNOW, WITH THAT
KIND OF CHARISMA, I NOW
UNDERSTAND HOW YOU BECAME THE
MAYOR OF THESSALONIKI.
YOU'RE PRETTY GOOD POLITICIAN.

Yiannis says LOOK, I'M NOT A POLITICIAN.
I'M NOT A POLITICIAN.
BUT I THINK I HAVE COMMON LOGIC,
AND THAT IS TO SAY THAT I SAY
THE TRUTH.
IT HELPS.
I SAY THE TRUTH ABOUT ALL THE
BIG PROBLEMS THAT WE FACE.
I SAY TO THE PEOPLE WORKING IN
THESSALONIKI, THE PEOPLE IN THE
GARBAGE COLLECTION SYSTEM, THEY
WORK FOUR HOURS PER DAY, FIVE
HOURS PER DAY.
I SAY, LOOK, YOU ARE PAID FOR
EIGHT HOURS A DAY.
EITHER YOU WORK EIGHT HOURS A
DAY OR I CONTACT THE PRIVATES.
WHAT CAN I SAY?

Steve says DID IT CHANGE THINGS?

Yiannis says IT CHANGED.
THEY ARE PAID WELL, AND THEY...
TOO BECAUSE YOU SAY TO THEM,
LOOK, YOU ARE HERE FOR LIFE.
I CANNOT FIRE YOU.
BUT MOST PROBABLY I CANNOT FIRE
YOU, BUT I'LL PUT SOMEONE ELSE
IN YOUR PLACE AND YOU'LL BE PAID
ONLY JUST A SALARY PER DAY AND
NOT THE OVERDUES THAT YOU HAVE.
SO WHAT DO YOU PREFER?
SOMETIMES YOU GOT TO BLACKMAIL
PEOPLE TOO.

The caption changes to "Producer: Sandra Gionas, @sandragionas."

Steve says UNDERSTOOD.
MAYOR BOUTARIS, IT'S VERY GOOD
OF YOU TO VISIT US AT TVO
TONIGHT.
THERE ARE, OF COURSE, NUMEROUS
LINKS BETWEEN GREECE AND CANADA,
INCLUDING... I CAN REMEMBER, OH,
PROBABLY 40, 45 YEARS AGO, YOUR
FORMER PRIME MINISTER WHO WAS A
PREFER AT YORK UNIVERSITY FOR A
TIME.
SO WE'RE GRATEFUL THAT YOU'VE
CONTINUED THIS TRADITION OF
GREEK POLITICIANS VISITING
CANADA, AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO
YOUR DECISION ON WHETHER YOU
WILL SEEK RE-ELECTION NEXT YEAR.
THANK YOU FOR COMING IN TONIGHT.

Yiannis says THANK YOU.
THANK YOU, STEVE.
THANK YOU.
I JUST ONE SMALL DETAIL, MY
GRANDSON, HE IS A STUDENT SINCE
SEPTEMBER, SINCE BEGINNING OF
SEPTEMBER, AT MCGILL UNIVERSITY.

Steve says IN MONTREAL?

Yiannis says YES.
I'M PROUD OF IT.

Steve says WONDERFUL.
ANOTHER LINK BETWEEN GREECE AND CANADA.

Yiannis says THANK YOU.

Steve says THANK YOU.

Yiannis says THANK YOU, STEVE.

Watch: An Anti-Nationalist Mayor