Extracts from writings by Salah Elnagar:
Extracts from writings by Salah Elnagar

salah elnagar Ýí 2016-11-14


Extracts from writings by Salah Elnagar


[These extracts are taken from a series of articles by Salah Elnagar and will form part of a book to be published by him in the near future called,This is What I Saw; The Adventures of a Refugee.]


Thoughts on the meaning of Homeland

There are not enough lines, or even pages, to write about homeland; the meaning of which includes the entire universe, the simple and the complex. Home is the first breath of life, it is the identity of a person. It is a beloved, who relieves my wounds and pain, and gives me peace, sun and air. The homeland of most people is their home town, the place of childhood, youth and adulthood and where their loved ones reside. Human life does not exist without a homeland protecting it, and defending one by offering various services such as education and health.  A sense of belonging to a particular country is a natural instinct of man.


The home is a place that educates the human, and imprints beautiful pictures in his mind: mountains, seas, rivers, sand, sounds of loved ones and friends. Grandparents talk about the ruins and poets write about it. When you leave, and the borders keep you a thousand miles away, we leave behind our years of love and good times. Or do we take all these recalled with a tremor of joy, a moment of sorrow, we are touched by melancholy….

This is the Meaning of Homeland.


Appointment with Education…(from a visit to UEA university)


The purpose of higher education, in many countries, is as a yardstick to measure the nation's progress in terms of civilisation. Trailblazers for invention and discovery, universities are the means by which ideas become concrete and eventually benefit civilisation….Universities, then, are my place of worship; they are my mosque, my church, my temple. My prayers there address the true origins of God: science, not ignorance.


….The ancient Egyptian people believed in science and translated this belief into creating a big civilization. We do not know the religions of the workers who built the pyramids but we know the minds and hands which full of science built it. So I say and repeat to you my child, make science as the symbol of your life.


Humans are social beings, and contact with others is one of the most important bases of human life. The acquisition of knowledge, experience and culture only occurs by contact with one another and interaction between communities. This principle is advocated by civil and religious structures alike…..The Lord of all beings decided that we are all equal brothers and sisters, the issue of but one father and one mother despite our differences; and the Lord has made us differ in colours and languages in order to learn about each other, not to fight and destroy each other.


My child says we should fight against terrorism, extremists and the enemies of humanity with rockets and bombs. I tell him, no, no my child, the war with terrorism, rockets and bombs is not a solution, on the contrary, they increase problems and create more wars and fighting. My child asks me, “Ok, what is the solution?”  I reply: “Peaceful intellectual war against extremists and terrorism is the best solution”.  My child asks again, “How can we use this war?” I reply, “Europe suffered during World War One and World War Two from racial discrimination and nationalism. And because of this racist war, millions of victims died and many countries were destroyed completely”. In the aftermath, all this changed with the European belief of freedom and human rights,  because behaviour, aims, ideas and strategy were used rather than wars and weapons. Thinkers and creators should fight against terrorism with peaceful thought, awareness and the principles of human rights and governments and states should support them. The war with terrorism will produce more terror and destruction and this is not a solution at all.


Appointment with Work…. (from a working visit to Grange farm with New Routes)



He was shy about asking me to do a heavier task, as the work is hard but I smiled and said “my friend, work is work”. Work is in an essential part of human life, which gives man and woman status and the feeling of being part of society, interacting with our fellow humans. The ancient civilizations undoubtedly did not come out of nowhere, but it were the result of hard work.


Appointment with Life…..(from a group visit to Beccles, Norfolk)


On arrival by bus, we were brought to a large building in the town, called The Friends Meeting House, and here we found some people waiting for us, who welcomed us, and everyone took a seat. They asked us about our names, and brought us some tea with biscuits. We also discussed the fact that it was St George’s day.  As we sat in the room, two elders, who were Quakers, came to meet us and asked us about our names and the names of our countries. The majority of the group were from Sudan and Eritrea. The elderly man spoke with us about the poor situation in Africa, particularly Sudan and Eritrea, and religions also, and some of the countries had suffered from religious persecution. He also asked us, “Has one of you suffered this persecution?”, but no one answered him. And I said to myself, addressing the old man:

"My friend, do not disturb the purity of our journey, we do not talk about religions now. Religion in its true meaning is morality, science, work, reform, justice, mercy, faithfulness and assistance. What you and the individuals who organised the trip, are doing, with humble affection, is the essence of religion and truth done with a pure heart.”

Later, we made our way to a small boat ready for the water trip on the broads, and when I saw the boat and the water I remembered my painful and bitter experience with the boat and the sea, my mind shook and my body shuddered!

The arduous trip to Europe on a ship in the Mediterranean Sea took five days and one night, in the dark of the raging sea. Five days of anxiety, insomnia, fear and grief. For five nights I did not know the taste of sleep, I closed my eyes but my ears stayed awake listening to the motor of the ship and the collision of the waves.  Insomnia was killing me and I thought “I do not know what tomorrow will bring, will I even see tomorrow? Or will I be food for the hungry sea fish?”

My second meeting with a ship was in the English Channel between France and England after three months of serious attempts, great effort and fictional adventures like that of James Bond, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone! My lucky night came on the 14th October 2015. I was an unwelcome guest in a lorry on the ship. I stayed thirty six hours, lying still in the same position, sharing a one metre by two metre box with one other person unable to move an inch. Our eyes wide open, alert to the movements of the lorry, we had to mute our breathing in order to avoid the sniffs of the dogs. Eventually, we heard the announcement on the ship that we would arrive at our destination in ten minutes. We shook each other’s’ hands with happiness as if we had just won a prize.

I did not want my adventures to be famous, displayed on the TV, or rewarded with an Oscar to cheers and applause from the public. Also, I did not want money in my bank account. My goal was the greatest prize of all: liberty and security, a crown that should be on every individual’s head. Freedom is the greatest thing that God granted humans but its true meaning is unknown until lost, as I had experienced in my country.



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بطاقة salah elnagar
تاريخ الانضمام : 2016-02-17
مقالات منشورة : 29
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بلد الميلاد : Egypt
بلد الاقامة : United Kingdom