Every Iranian who has heard of the loss of Anthony Bourdain and his fair views about Iranians feels deep sorrow. Here in Iran, those who knew him and in particular those who are in the travel industry circles, have the same feelings toward him.
It’s highly important to hear a globally known voice in the travel industry say, ”
Me and my crew have never been treated so well everyday by average people in the street! People were lovely to us.”
Iran? Are You Crazy to Go to Iran?
We’ve heard this time and again in the past decades from almost anyone who has traveled to Iran. Why? Because this is how the media have presented Iran to everyone’s mind. In a few days or even hours after someone’s trip to Iran, ask him/her, “What did others say when you’d decided to travel to Iran?” The absolute majority of them would say,”… asked us, are you crazy to go to Iran?” OR “Are you out of your mind?”, etc!
Now you hear these words from a well-known world figure in the travel industry and he is from the US. According to Wikipedia,
“he was … an American …, and television personality who starred in programs focusing on the exploration of international culture, cuisine, and the human condition.”
This is despite the fact that he mentioned about Iran,
“It’s an extraordinary place that makes no sense at all next to what we see on the news and what we know of our pasts together!”
Iranians’ Interest in Anthony Bourdain out of Respect
Because he was from the Western media, it isn’t reasonable to judge him as ill-intentioned. On the contrary, as people are better recognized by their words and action, the above statements by him are sufficient for us to respect him. He’s been fair enough to rule out whatever political figures and the media have generally said about Iran. As travel industry activists, we know how much Iranians have suffered from such presentation of our country in the world.
That’s why those who know him here and especially those who are in the tourism business, have a great respect for him. That’s why his death is a great loss of a prominent person who could influence the minds of the people on the other side of the fence. And this matters for the nations: what other people think of our people!
Of course, he’s mentioned other positive points about a trip to Iran like Iranian food, the music of Iran and in general Iranian Culture! Like everyone else, his personality might have had other dimensions too. I’ve not written this post to judge his entire being. I’m not in such a position at all. I’d like to ask everyone to listen to all sides and decide for yourself.
Anthony Bourdain was a fair explorer whose impartial opinions could influence millions. (Look here for an example!) So, his loss is regretful.