After the dust settles – safety in the Kingdom.

I haven’t posted for while, I guess that’s more to do with life here in KAUST and KSA in general becoming more of a ‘normality’ than a novelty anymore. Which of course is a great thing! It means I’m settling in, feeling at home, I have a routine, a circle of friends, hobbies, and of course – lots of work.
However I don’t want livinginarabia to fall by the wayside, in addition I have been inspired by recent events in Saudi Arabia and a comment left on my blog by a nice reader to write a little about security and how safe I personally feel living in the Middle East. So here we go.
As you may know, last week there were three suicide bombs in the Kingdom, all detonated within the space of 24 hours. One of the bombs targeted a mosque in Qatif, another was at the Prophet’s mosque in Medina where heartbreakingly four people were killed; and the third was at the US consulate in Jeddah.
I was actually at home in England when the attacks happened and found out from the KAUST community facebook group that I am part of. Slowly but surely I began to get messages from my KAUST friends, informing me of the bombs, wondering if there would be any further attacks, discussing any possible impact on us as expats, or on our life in KAUST.
One thing that I really found difficult to come to terms with was how little the attacks were covered by the English media. I mean they were on the BBC website but you had to have a super magnifying glass and the eyesight of an eagle to be able to spot it. I had been worried about my mam finding out (yes I kept it from her, I’m a terrible daughter – whatever. I wanted to limit her already alarming levels of hysteria when it comes to me living in the Middle East) but I needn’t have worried. The bombs weren’t even mentioned on the news. Unbelievable. Particularly when considered with the mass coverage/lambasting of religion that happens whenever this type of attack happens in a non-Muslim country but hey, that’s a post for a different time. Or maybe a number of posts for a different time because I don’t think the extent of my disgust and shame at the British media when it comes to blatent racism, techniques to divide our country disguised as journalism and out and out barefaced lying can be confined to just one post.
Anyway.
We were due to fly back to Saudi Arabia, into Jeddah airport the following Friday and I would be lying if I said the attacks had not made me nervous, they had. Airports in the past have been popular as targets following unrest of any kind in any country and its of course fairly wise to not fly yourself directly in to danger. Having said all of that, when Friday came around the dust had settled, no more disturbances had been reported and I was confident enough to get on my plane.
The whole journey passed without a hitch and here I am in KAUST. Safe as houses, two weeks on from the bombs in Jeddah and life is getting on as normal. The only change I am aware of is Jeddah airport allowing only flying passengers into the airport now in an effort to increase security which can only be a good thing.
For those of you reading who are wondering about the safety of the campus I really want to take the opportunity to set your minds at rest. I honestly have never felt safer than I do here no matter where I lived previously. We have 24 hour security, all those who work here have been thoroughly background checked, there are two checkpoints you have to get through before you are even allowed to enter the campus and we have cutting edge perimeter security. At no point have I ever felt unsafe here, if anything I worry that it could lull you into a false sense of security that might be difficult to shake off when returning to the ‘real’ world.
Please note that this is my honest opinion, I will never post pro-KAUST (or anything else for that matter) propaganda just for the sake of it, if I type it – it’s because I mean it.
The reader who left the comment that inspired this post also asked about the safety of travelling outside KAUST, whether that be internationally or just into Jeddah my response would be the same – I would be completely happy to travel. I’m leaving to go to Europe for a wedding in three weeks and I have no qualms about that decision, I’m happy that security has been stepped up at the airport but otherwise I feel fairy certain that those three attacks were isolated events and that there is no longer-lasting impacts.
Insha’Allah this is so.
In the sake of full disclosure I will say that we will probably be wary about going back to the embassy for a little while, but it’s not really a conscious decision as such – we don’t go often anyway – just more of an acknowledgement that danger actually happened there, and it’s a place that we know… Does that make sense? No probably not – welcome to my world.
Anyway, I hope if you are reading this and are about to embark on a journey to our wonderful University to start your life at KAUST that this helps ease your mind. I guess what the sad truth comes down to is that the world is in a pretty big mess right now and we can’t really be sure of being safe anywhere. But I strongly feel that KASUT is doing all it can to keep us as safe as we can be.
As always if you have any questions/comments then stick them down there in the comments section. If you have anything you would like me to write about then let me know in the same way. Also (shameless plug) please check out my Instagram @livinginarabia for regular pictures of my life in KAUST and the Middle East

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “After the dust settles – safety in the Kingdom.

  1. Hi Pippa! Thank you very much for your reply-post. I’ve already confirmed that the compound is really safe, but you’ve also cleared my doubts about the travelling part. So thank you again. 🙂

    P.S. I’ve been in KAUST for two weeks so far and this is even better than I expected!

    Like

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s