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As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at http://wwwdamavandsafa.blogspot.com

In Search of Heaven…A Brief Book review

Published Thursday, June 8, 2006



Los Angeles, 9 June (IPS) In this year of 2006 A.D., Iran’s first Constitution of 1906 was 100 years old.

In August 5, 1906 our forefathers succeeded in wining the first Constitution in the history of Asian nations. But a year later, despotic Mohammad-Ali Shah Qajar in collaboration with Russian colonial power clashed with the Constitutionalists. From 1907 until 1911 a protracted war was waged by the Constitutionalists on one side and Mohammad-Ali Mirza and his foreign colonial patrons namely Tsarist Russia and colonialist Britain on the other. In the end Constitutionalists were the victorious side in this unbalanced war.

“The Nationalist forces in Tabriz made a determined sortie this morning, but with little result. An American missionary, Mr. Baskerville, who joined Sattar Khan a fortnight ago, was killed during the fighting”.

During that historic uprising, my birthplace, the beautiful city of Tabriz was the stronghold of the freedom fighters and Constitutionalists. News of the events traveled with slow pace such as the following piece which appeared in “The Times” on 21st of April, 1909.

“The Nationalist forces in Tabriz made a determined sortie this morning, but with little result. An American missionary, Mr. Baskerville, who joined Sattar Khan a fortnight ago, was killed during the fighting”.

When we Iranians refer to our relationship with the USA in early 20th century, two names always come up with appreciation: Morgan Shuster, an advisor to the Iranian government in the 1910's, and Howard Baskerville, a missionary killed in Tabriz in 1909.

In Search of Heaven…A Brief Book review-Body

Howard Baskerville described in his own words the decision to join his students in the Nationalist movement as a matter of conscience. He was born April 10, 1885 and died in April 19, 1909

It is pure coincidence that “In Search of Heaven” written by an Iranian Poet and film maker “Ata Servati” is published this year. The book is based on the epic journey of “Howard Baskerville” to Iran and his involvement in the Constitutionalists uprising in Tabriz.

As Servati has stated in his book: “By example, through his faith and awareness, Howard created hope among the people in Tabriz and brought them to rally around the national hero of Iran, Sattar Khan, and thereby frustrated the plans of the foreign interests”.

Servati refers to the contributions of my good colleague Abbas Pahlavan, a well-known journalist and his idea of a film screenplay based on Baskerville’s life and his role in the Iranian Constitutionalists uprising.

April 2006 marked the 100 anniversary of Baskerville's death. Perhaps we can honor this American idealist and his Iranian comrades by telling their story to our new generation.

And begins his book with a tribute to late Dr. Reza-zadeh Shafag, the famous Iranian scholar who in 1949 during a New York conference to “Celebrate Persian Literature”, delivered Iran’s gratitude to this extraordinary American, Howard Baskerville.

At the height of the anti-American sentiment in Iran during the 1980's, the tomb of Howard Baskerville in Tabriz was always covered with yellow roses. Given the political climate, no one claimed any knowledge of who had placed the flowers on any particular day, but there was a general agreement that the tomb always had fresh flowers on it!

In telling his story, albeit from only the Iranian perspective, Servati hopes to encourage film makers to create a companion piece.

April 2006 marked the 100 anniversary of Baskerville's death. Perhaps we can honor this American idealist and his Iranian comrades by telling their story to our new generation. NADER SADIQI 9506

Editor's note: Mr. Nader Sadiqi is an Iranian journalist and political analyst based in Los Angeles, USA. He contributes to many Iranian media, including Iran Press Service.

 

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As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at http://wwwdamavandsafa.blogspot.com


In Search of Heaven…A Brief Book review-Main
Howard Baskerville, a missionary killed in Tabriz in 1909.



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