Habib Rezaie imagines what Henri, British refugee in Iran, would reply to the letter of his friend George
Karaj, 14 October 2030
It is great to hear from you as I was worried about your situation in the UK. I was so touched when I read that you still hold the Yorkshire tea and the Digestive biscuits that I gave you. Have you started your journey? And how is the current situation in the UK? Did many people flee their home? I hope that you are safe. Sometimes I wonder if your home has changed since the time I was there, during our last holiday together. I know that many schools and buildings, close to where we lived, have been destroyed by the war.
Do you remember the picture we took in front of the London Eye? I hanged that picture on the wall of my living room, and I often look at it. I wish I was there now – if I could go back in time, I would choose to be back there. I really miss England, especially my family and friends.
After a year and half, I have finally received my refugee status here in Iran. I am grateful for this. I hope you will soon get your refugee status. I currently live in a big city called Karaj. It is a great city to live and people here are quite nice. I am still learning the way of life and the culture. The key to being accepted in this country is respecting their religion, their culture, and their laws. If you do that, you should be fine. You shouldn’t feel hate against them, even if you think they’re wrong – remember that we are guests in their country. I have made a few friends. One of my closest friends that I have here is Ali. He is a nice guy and he is helping me a lot with Farsi, the Iranian language.
The hardest thing is to learn Farsi. As you could imagine, I have found it really hard to learn it. I have failed the language exam so many times and this has created lots of problems. My solicitor told me that if I will not pass the language exam I won’t be able to apply for citizenship – which means that I cannot travel outside Iran. Since I have arrived, I am attending the local college to learn Farsi but I still have so many difficulties with it. I still cannot pronounce or spell most of the worlds. Sometimes I feel like I’m in high school all over again.
I left behind a circle of friends who not only loved me, but also thought that I was fun. Now, it is so difficult to express myself in Farsi – let alone tell my jokes. Anyways, I suspect that Iranian people don’t fully understand my English humour.
Even if I often feel that some Iranian people often tolerate me rather than accept me, I’m safe and I’m happy. There are a couple of Brits in Karaj but there is not really a British community. However, we all stick together and we help each other. I feel a little discriminated because I’m British, but maybe I’m just being paranoid. To be a non-religious single man is very hard, especially if you want to find a nice Iranian girl.
I wish you all the best for your journey, my friend. Regarding the £1000 that you asked me, I promise that I will sort this for you as soon as I can. War may destroy our houses, our schools, and separate us from our family and friends but the war cannot destroy our friendships and our dreams. So cheer up, stay positive, and don’t give up on your dream.
I hope to visit you soon in Afghanistan – it would be great to meet again! I hope you will get your refugee status soon, as I got mine in Iran. Keep your head up and stay safe. If you need anything, I am always happy to help you as I can – just ask me.
Keep in touch. It’s a shame you couldn’t apply for asylum in Iran – I wish that I would be able to sort things out for you. I feel bad thinking of you going to Afghanistan on your own. I wish you all the best and all the luck for the journey. I can’t wait to catch up. Keep yourself safe.
Your friend George
About Habib Rezaie
Habib Rezaie was born in Afghanistan and he lives in Leicester. He currently studies Computing for Business at De Montfort University, in Leicester. He also works as a project assistant for The Becoming Adult Project. He enjoys travelling, socialising with friends and playing a range of sports