It seems that this is the worst time to travel a citizen of Saudi Arabia to Iran. If a Saudi citizen suddenly decided to live in Iran, probably nobody even many Iranians know this decision wisely.
But now, a Saudi woman decided to change the false assumptions about Iran as much as she can. On her weblog, ‘a Saudi in Iran’, she writes her experiences in Iran and one can hardly find anything negative about Iran.
Sarah Mesri has been living and studying in Iran for ten months.
When asked about a negative experience in Iran, she claimed she can’t think of any.
In her latest post after the Mina stampede, Sarah wrote that “here nobody cares that I’m Saudi Arabian, or the fact that I’m Sunni.”
“To me Iran and its culture have always been fascinating,” she said, adding that “when I was in London I used to read about Iran’s history and culture but one day it hit me that to find out what Iran is like I have to live there.”
“When I made up my mind to leave my job in London and come to Iran and study here, my family and friends tried to stop me; and to be fair they were right to some extent considering the news we usually hear about Iran in other countries,” Sarah explained.
“Iranians are very kind and treat me very well, they are very hospitable, and are able to separate politics from people in a way that I think is really unique to the Middle East” she added.
“When I speak they suppose that I’m Indian because of my Persian accent and when I explain that I’m from Saudi Arabia they get curious as to why I’m here and if I like their country or not,” Sarah said.
“I travel a lot around Iran and I’ve seen many beautiful cities, met interesting people and made great friends,” she added.
“Once I lost my wallet with all my IDs and driver’s license, the police and all my friends were almost sure that I can’t find it anymore but some days later a woman called and introduced herself as the cab driver’s wife who found my wallet and she said had been searching for me for days,” she added.
“Definitely there are racists all over the world but I’ve never met one here,” she said, stressing that “after the Mina tragic stampede nobody treated me any different than the past.”
“After the Hajj stampede, I was paying for lunch at the cafeteria and one of my friends came up and made a joke to the cashier: ‘Don’t sell her anything, she’s Saudi.’ and ran off. A woman who had heard this came up to me and for five minutes apologized to me for her countryman’s behavior. Even after I told her it was just a joke made by my friend, she said it was an inappropriate one,” Sarah said.
Sarah tries to give a different image of Iran and wants to create a bridge between people in both nations in her weblog and except for some occasional negative reactions generally her experiences are very well received by her readers.
“What makes me sad is that I can’t do any better in changing everyone’s idea about Iran,” she lamented.