He arrived in 1907 fresh out of Princeton Theological Seminary, on the land of Hafez, Saadi and Rumi. The city of Tabriz was the center of resistance to royalist forces backed by Tsarist Russians arms, money, troops and canons. The constitution was ratified in 1906 but the revolutionary war did not subside until 1911.
The last thing the Tsarist regime wanted in Iran the neighboring country was a constitutional government with a parliament. When Tabriz fell in siege of 1908, Howard Baskerville decided to part with his teaching position and joined the constitutional forces. He fought in trenches and became the leader of a contingent of 150 nationalist fighters. That number had diminished to 9, so the dedicated and unyielding school teacher remained.
On April 19, 1909 a single bullet tore through his heart killing him instantly eight days after his 24th birthday.
Howard Baskerville in a world moving toward darkness lit a candle. Many times the candle flickered by cruel winds but the flame regained steadiness. Tsar Nickolas and his family were murdered in a revolution that shook the world in 1917. An ideology was implanted and tested in Russia. The world watched in fascination the day Berlin Wall was demolished.
Fascism faded fast after World War II and what remains to this day is by sham balloting. Dictatorship is on the decline, the remaining dictators in the world are old, nearing burial day. The classical music and literature were created during the eras of dictatorship, but the world s oldest political order has had its day.
And the candle burned brightly in other spheres. The centurys greatest writer kept writing novels and short stories to unprecedented world acclaim. A towering figure in life and literature his achievements include the Nobel Prize.
As Rumi said, ?each one of us touches one place and the whole world understands you.? Howard Baskerville came to TOUCH Tabriz. His tombstone seeming to have risen out of the earth is there since 1909, a few months short of a hundred years AND NOW THE WHOLE WORLD UNDERESTANDS him.
May the bell toll in towers or ring in the hand of every child in early spring of every year on April 19, and may Howard Baskerville hear the earthly chimes for the first time a century after his departure from earth wherever he is in heaven.
The US flag flies over the US consulate near Arg e Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran, during Iran's Constitutionalist Revolution.