Francis Ngannou has had enough when it comes to Western hypocrisy surrounding the treatment of refugees.
The UFC heavyweight champion shared a disturbing set of videos on Instagram of African refugees who were injured or killed recently while trying to seek out a better life in Europe. The incident took place in Ceuta, Spain when 2000 migrants attempted to jump the fence, which resulted in clashes with the authorities. Between 23 and 37 migrants died.
The post was accompanied by an emotional caption in which Ngannou appealed to his fans to understand the plight of refugees like him and to do better.
People of the world, fans, friends, please understand why this is so hard for me to witness. I shared a piece of my story with @joerogan, and with what just happened recently to my people, I can’t stop thinking that just 9 years ago I could’ve been one of these people who tragically lost everything in an attempt to seek a better life for themselves and their families. I am familiar with this exact location,” Ngannou said.
Ngannou was born and raised in Cameroon, where he lived in poverty and worked at a sand quarry from age 10. He eventually migrated to Europe but was jailed for two months in Spain for illegally crossing the border. He eventually ended up in Paris, France, where he lived homeless on the streets before being introduced to Fernand Lopez, who allowed him to sleep and train at his MMA Factory gym for free. The rest is history.
“You have to understand, had I not attempted this very thing myself, you wouldn’t know me. I wouldn’t have been able to become a World Champion. I just happened to be a lucky one. That’s all it was.”
Now UFC heavyweight champion, Ngannou is using his platform to speak up for refugees like himself, while also drawing attention to the hypocrisy and xenophobia of Western media and societies who welcome Ukrainian refugees while shunning others.
“I’m NOT ok that nobody is talking about it,” Ngannou said. “I’m not ok that nobody is blaming these acts on those responsible. I’m not ok that the western media are not reporting it. How can our own leaders see this over and over and don’t stand up for their people? When will we say ENOUGH is ENOUGH? What will it take to stop treating us like this? What have we done that’s so bad to deserve this treatment? Are we not human enough for you? Should we not be existing in the same planet?
“It’s horrible what’s been happening in Ukraine and I love the support the media and people have shown. I support refugees everywhere. But WHY this is less important? WHY does it seem that nobody really cares? Is it because these bodies are not white? What is the problem?”
The United Nations states that, as of July 4, more than. 5.2 million refugees from Ukraine have been recorded across Europe, with more than one million in Poland and more than 867,000 in Germany. The EU granted Ukrainians the automatic right to stay and work throughout its 27 member nations for up to three years—a right which was not afforded to refugees from other locations such as Syria or Afghanistan.
The graphic footage posted by Ngannou can be viewed here. Viewers discretion is advised.