Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Journalist was stunned by the bigotry in the Ukrainian cities hosting our games

Levi Nwankwo is a law-abiding, peaceful man, but as he walks briskly through Donetsk, the Ukrainian city in which he lives, he is in a state of high alert.

That is during the day. At night, he will travel only by cab. As a student, it’s a luxury he can ill afford, but after dark the streets aren’t safe. At least, not for a black man.

The 27-year-old Nigerian is 6ft tall and capable of defending himself but there was little he could do when he was ambushed by a gang of extreme Right-wing thugs last August.

He says: ‘I was escorting a friend home one Sunday at about 9pm. I didn’t want him walking alone at night. We had just stepped out of the door of the student hostel when suddenly five young white guys appeared out of the dark and started calling us racist names.

‘They were holding large stones in their hands, which they threw at us. We took cover in a shop doorway and called my friends in the hostel with my cellphone. When the cavalry arrived, our attackers fled like the cowards they were.

‘I had only been in the country five months and it was very frightening. If I had not already paid my money to the university, I might have got on the next flight home.’

Levi, who is studying engineering, describes living in Ukraine as ‘very scary for black people’. He says: ‘There’s a 50-50 chance something really bad will happen to you because of your skin colour. I know another African student who was beaten so badly by skinheads last year that he lost the hearing in his right ear.

‘His dad insisted that he transferred his studies to London. I don’t think the police even got involved. When we tell them about a hate crime they usually use it as an opportunity to extort money from us for some fictional misdemeanour with our papers.’ Read More