Thursday, June 19, 2003

The American martyr in Persia

A few months ago, an Iranian newspaper had it that Jafari Jozani, the Iranian film maker, had a plan to make a movie about the young American guy who died fighting for democracy in Iran. The story, as given in that newspaper, is that around 1904 this American who was a young orientalist with special interest in Middle East cultures, arrived at Tabriz (the Iranian city at North West corner of the country, near the borders of Turkey). His aim apparently was to gain first hand experience of the Persian cultures. To his amazement, he found Tabriz fighting a civil war. There was bloody gun fight between a group of armed rebellions and the king's soldiers. The rebels, backed by the public, asked for the establishment of parliament and constitution. I bet the last thing this American guy expected in the land of one thousand and one nights stories, was a revolution for democracy. Looks like he got very excited over what he saw because he joined the rebels and sadly died for the cause. That revolution prevailed in 1905 and Iran (then called Persia) got its first parliament and first ever constitution. According to the newspaper, the people of Tabriz put the man in rest in a nice grave and gave him a lot of respect. Since then, they have managed to keep the grave clean and they put flowers on it all the time. Even during the worst years of atrocities between Iran and the USA, they did not reduce their respect for him.

I believe the newspaper was Aftab-e Yazd, though I am not sure. It was sometime in the winter, probably late February. I have also forgotten the name of the brave American man. If anybody nows more about this story please let me know. I tried searching on the Internet but didn't get anything. Looks like Jafari Jozani does not have a website for his company Jozan Film.


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