" ... The next eight weeks, filled with danger and exhilaration, were the high point of Grant’s life. In Hakkari he discovered a wonderland of snow-crusted peaks, rushing rivers, and terraced gardens. He met the Christians’ patriarch, Mar Shimun, and made plans for American schools in the mountains. The Nestorians flocked to greet him and receive medical care, and the Kurds came as well. A terrifying encounter with Nurullah, the murderer of Schulz, ended in triumph when Grant “cured” the Kurd of a flu-like illness using a powerful dose of tartar emetic. By Christmas 1839 he had returned to the American mission station in Urmia, northwest Iran, where he had begun his long journey ten months before.
Grant’s goals were plain: to heal the sick, to bolster the area’s Nestorian Christians for the fight against “Mohammedan delusion,” and to prepare them to lead in the “spiritual regeneration of Asia.” The grandiosity of this plan did nothing to keep him, in the remaining four years of his life, from striving for its fulfillment. Reality, of course, steered him in quite a different direction.
Mountain life, Grant discovered, was hard. Hakkari’s windowless hovels were built of mud and stone. Its terraced fields, hacked from the rock, shuddered beneath the assaults of winter avalanches and spring floods. From their caves, bears emerged to ravage crops and kill sheep; and the wolves were never far behind.
Among humans, intrigue abounded. The Kurdish emir, Nurullah, plotted against the Nestorian patriarch, Mar Shimun, a prelate who carried a loaded rifle whenever he went abroad. Nurullah’s nephew, also a Muslim and a good friend of the patriarch, plotted against his uncle. Some Christian tribesmen wanted to kill the emir; others planned to kill their own patriarch. The Turkish pasha in Mosul wanted to hang all of them. And all the while the raiding, blood feuds, brigandage, and sheep-stealing went back and forth in every possible Christo-Kurdish combination, with the Christians making a special point every Good Friday to attack the Jews.
Dr. Grant’s arrival, all parties believed, foretold European encroachment and conquest. Thus, though he abjured politics, his very presence made a political statement. Strictly honest in his dealings, generous and kindly to a fault, Grant and his motives were always suspect. When he built a mission house in Asheetha, a Nestorian village, all assumed that he was building a fortified castle. In a world where only “my enemy’s enemy” was a friend, the man who loved all people was building on sand. ... "