The Home Front Project Part 5 – Evacuees

evacuees

Evacuation was when children in target cities such as London, were moved to homes considered safe by train or road, often in the countryside, where they were temporarily fostered and looked after until they could go home safely.

There were three main evacuations during the war. The first beginning two days before the declaration of war on September 1st 1939, although for months later more than half had returned as the feared German attacks had not happened. The second main evacuation effort begun on the `13th June 1940 when the Germans had taken over parts of France, and again when the Blitz began in September that year. The final main evacuation effort happened in 1944 when over 1,000,000 people, more than in previous attempts, were moved from London because of the threat of German V1 and V2 rockets.

The 3.5 million people who were evacuated were school children and their teachers, mothers with young children under 5, pregnant women, and some elderly or disabled people.

People were moved because there was a very real threat of violent bombings so the Government moved the children to keep them safe as they are the country’s future. They were moved to many places all over Britain, in particular small towns and villages in the countryside away from large targeted cities and ports.

evacuees_working

It was confusing and scary to be an evacuee. At the station they were labelled just like a parcel, and were lined up not knowing whether they would be able to stay with their brothers and sisters or where they would be going to.  They were apprehensive and worried about leaving their families to live with complete strangers, but at the same they were slightly looking forward to seeing a place they had never seen before and perhaps only read about in books. After a long journey by train or road they would arrive tired and hungry in the countryside, uncertain that they would see their families again.  They were bundled into village halls, where a picking session for the families taking the children in began, and brothers and sisters would be split apart, and the ‘less presentable’ children would be left until last, upset and alone.   Although they were often very homesick, the enjoyed the fresh air and those who were put on farms were happy to be around animals they had only seen in pictures at school. When they were sent back to their families they were filled with joy and love.

To find out more about life as an evacuee you could read these books:

  • Kisses On A Postcard by Terence Frisby: The playwrigth recounts his ‘other life’ in Cornwall with his foster parents Auntie Rose and Uncle Jack
  • When The Children Came Home by Julie Summers: a collection of memoirs about life as an evacuee, from departure to trying to adjust to returnin home.
  • Far From The East End by Iris Jones: a fictional story about a young girl who has difficult relationships with her parents but discovers an idylic life when she is evacuated to Wales.

Life After Death Part 3

Christian Beliefs:

heaven2

Christians believe that when you die you will be judged. If you died believing in God and Jesus, you can be forgiven for your sins and go to heaven. The main reason for believing this is because in the bible, it suggests the only way to get to heaven is through Jesus, so if he forgives you, you may get to god in heaven. If you are a different religion or do not have one you will automatically go to hell even if you were the nicest person on the planet.

Some Roman Catholics still believe in purgatory unlike Protestants. This is because a Pope long ago talked about it and as Protestants were against the Pope, they didn’t believe it.  The Pope said if you are not yet good enough to go to heaven or bad enough to go to hell you will be sent to purgatory.  Purgatory is like a waiting room to get to heaven, where you will work off your sins until you are good enough to go to Heaven.  

Christians also believe in resurrection. Jesus was resurrected as he came back to life. Some believe your soul escapes and will be rejoined with your body and resurrected at the end of the world.

Islamic Beliefs:

islam

 

Muslims believe when people die, they stay on the earth. On the last day of existence, everyone is called to the plain of Arafat. God will then judge you on how you live your life.  Muslims who were good will go to heaven first. Then one by one, the different religions get to go to heaven. Finally, the very bad people and the people who did not have a religion can go to heaven.  So everyone reaches heaven eventually, but you must stay in hell for a while until you work off your sins. Life is a test so if you are good you will pass the test quicker.

 

I like this idea and think it is fair because everyone will go to heaven eventually, even if you were bad or of another religion – you will just have to stay in hell until your work off your sins, so when you are truly sorry and have proved it, you may be with God.

 

This is similar to Christianity and protestant beliefs because if you are good and believe you can go to heaven.  It is similar to Roman Catholic beliefs because most people can go to heaven. It is different because everyone can get to heaven eventually and on the last day of existence god calls you to the plain of Arafat, unlike Christianity where you are judged as soon as you die.

Conclusion:

scales

I would like to believe in life after death because it is hard to think one day you are there, in the world, and the next day you are gone. It is nice to think there is something out there and death is not the end.

I think Islam is better than Christianity because if you are a different religion in Christianity or not sure what to believe, you are automatically put in hell for eternity which isn’t fair for those who contributed a lot to society.  In Christianity and Islam, you only get one chance at life so in one respect, I prefer Hinduism and Buddhism.

I think Hinduism is slightly better than Buddhism because in Hinduism, you learn from your mistakes and your final reward is heaven. Some people would like Buddhism more because once you have escaped the Samsara, there is nothing, you are blown out like a candle.

I like Islam because God thinks everyone deserves to go to heaven eventually even if they are bad or a different religion so this shows understanding.  Hinduism lets you work your way up to heaven giving you a real sense of achievement.

I think believing in life after death whether you have a religion or not is better than not believing in it because you have a target to focus on and gives you hope and support for the future. It makes us all different and yet the same.  Just because some people don’t believe doesn’t mean you can’t believe in it.

In conclusion, there may or may not be life after death as there is not enough proof for either side. I say it is better to believe and be wrong as it gives you hope and comfort, and if we are all right, there will be a reward in the form of heaven waiting.  

Life After Death Part 2

Stone Age Beliefs:

stoneage

The Palaeolithic humans did believe in life after death. We know they suddenly started believing in it because they were leaving or possibly eating their dead relatives. They then dreamt about these dead people and thought that these people are still alive so they must have another life. As they did not know what dreams actually were, they were sure they were right. We are sure they had a basic language and could draw, so they all knew everyone else was seeing those people too.

They then began to bury the dead. First, they would put them in the foetal position because they knew that was the position babies were in the womb. So if you are born like that you must be re-born in the same position.  They sprinkled the body with a red powder made of dried berries to represent blood so they could have the life power to be re-born. Next, they would tie up their arms and legs so they stayed in the foetal position because when you die, rigor mortis sets in your body goes stiff and then you can’t move. So when rigor mortis sets in, they will stiffen up in the foetal position.  They then dig a shallow gave and place the body inside because if they had been buried in a deep grave, they would not be able to escape in their next life, but if it was a shallow grave they could. Before they covered up the grave, they would put some things like jewellery, weapons and food so they would have some possessions in their next life. This was quite a reasonable thing to do because they didn’t know what dreams actually were and would think they were seeing people in their next life.  

This simple belief of re-birth is similar to Hinduism and Buddhism, as they all believe you will be born again. It is different because the Stone Age people believed you always had the same body, even in the next life. Hindus believe you change bodies and could be anything like a fly or rat to a pig or human. Buddhists believe you can be born into different worlds as different things.

Hindu Beliefs:

hinduism

Hindus believe in reincarnation, so when you die you will be born again, as either a human or animal. This is why they are vegetarian because they believe they would be eating their ancestors. Their Atman is their soul. This is what is re-born into a higher, lower or the same caste depending on their Karma. Someone who ends their life with a low Karma is bad and will be re-born into a lower caste. Someone who ends their life with a high Karma is good and will move up a caste. This is called the caste system, and you have a very high Karma in the highest caste you will reach Moksha. Moksha is heaven for Hindus and reaching it is a Hindus’ goal in life. Samsara is what a Hindu believes about life after death (the cycle of birth, death, re-birth).

But if every Hindu reaches Moksha eventually and does not return to Earth, why are there more Hindus on earth now than there was before? You cannot make new souls, and the human race has been around long enough for every Hindu Atman to reach Moksha, so their belief system in this respect is a paradox.

There are no main divisions of groups in Hinduism, but each individual must find their own path to reach Moksha and God. There are four main paths or yoga’s to choose and different people will believe in a different one or a combination of them to get to God. Bhakti yoga is the path of love and whoever follows it feel naturally drawn to God, and will worship and develop a special relationship with their choice of deity ( the form of god e.g. baby Krishna). Raja Yoga is the path to God by meditation. Once you have forced your mind to become completely still, you can reflect on God and he can be experienced.  Karma Yoga is the path of action. This teaches you to keep working, but any work must be self-less. When you do good things to others, you become closer to God. Jnana Yoga is a way of reaching God through reason and intellect.  This path makes you really see what is out there and what life is all about. You must begin to hate the world so you are not distracted and then focus the mind on what is real or unreal.

Buddhist Beliefs:

buddhism

Nirvana describes the Buddhist belief of life after death. Nirvana means to blow out.  Buddhists believe in the Samsara- the cycle of birth, death and re-birth.  Samsara is the Buddhist’s idea of Hell, and there are many worlds in the Samsara and you can be born into any of them. All of these worlds are seen as bad but some can be better than others.  They also believe in Karma and that to every action there is a consequence. They all want to escape the Samsara, but they do not believe in the caste system. When you do escape the Samsara you do not go anywhere, but as nirvana says, you are blown out like a candle.

This is similar to Hinduism because they both believe in the Samsara and that it is like hell. They both believe in Karma but Buddhists are different because they do not believe in the caste system. They are different, as Hindus believe once you escape the Samsara, you go to heaven with God, but Buddhists believe you go nowhere.       

Is there life after death? (part 1)

heaven

One of the most hottly debated topic within not only religious groups but society as whole is whether there is something for us after our lives on this world end. We often see stories in the news of people who claim to have briefly gone to heaven during near-death experiences, but was what they experienced real or just a figment of their imagination as their body began to shut down? In this first part I’ll outline both sides of the non-religious argument:

Non-religious For:

  • The supernatural is one of the reasons people believe in life after death.  Some people are very suppositious and believe in the After-life, and when you die, you can come back to life as a ghost and haunt people or finish certain tasks.  Many people claim to have seen ghosts. Some people believe you can talk to the dead at a séance. A few people believe Ouija boards create a spiritual gateway to another world where the dead can communicate. 

  • A few people have near death experiences where they have died and gone to heaven. Many claim they saw a bright flash and then saw and spoke with God. God then brought them back to life. Some may have out of body experiences where they are flying and sometimes can see their body lying down as they float up.

  • Thinking you can come back again gives many a nice feeling. It provides comfort and hope because you can have a chance at life and meet up with loved ones again.  It provides support for those have a general fear of dying and for those who want to live on.

  • After you die, you can still live on in the minds of others. Whenever someone thinks of you, it’s like you are alive inside them. As long as people keep remembering you, you can still be alive.

  • Science has proven energy can’t be created or destroyed, it can only be transferred. So when you die your energy has to go somewhere. When you are buried, you provide energy in the form of food for animals and nutrients for the soil. So you will become part of the earth again and give life to plants and animals.

  • An interesting reason why people decide to believe it is Pascal’s wager. It says why we might as well believe in God and life after death.  If you believe in God and you are wrong, when you die, it doesn’t make a difference, but if you were right, you will probably be able to go to heaven.  If you decide to not believe in it and are right, it doesn’t make a difference, but if you are wrong, you will spend eternity in hell. 

  • I think near death experiences are difficult to believe especially if you trust science, unless you have had one. When you die, your brain shuts down and the flash you see could be from all the reactions going on in your brain, and as your brain isn’t working properly, you remember it as God. 

Non-religious Against:

  • Many people choose not to believe in life after death. One reason is that they have no experience. If you haven’t seen or done something, you are probably not going to believe it. You can’t experience everything that exists, and only a few people have near death experiences, which make it hard to believe.

  • Some people just don’t want to believe it. They want death to be the end. You need dead people to be dead so you can move on, not thinking of them as a ghost or another person, especially if a relative has just had a baby. People are afraid of someone coming back to haunt them or be with them.  Some people don’t enjoy life and dread the thought o facing it again. If they are bad, they might not want to go to hell, or feel so guilty that they can’t face life and want it to end.

  • Many of your beliefs come from your parents. Even the most independent people share some beliefs with their parents.  It all depends on your upbringing. If your parents don’t believe in something, it’s likely you’ll agree. If you parents are Christian, you are probably Christian too. If you are a child, you may not trust what they say. But you may have found out people like the tooth fairy, Santa and the Easter Bunny don’t exist when your parents said they do. Would you trust what they told you as a child?

  • Some people are not religious and don’t believe in God, or heaven, or hell, or re-birth. They think death is death and that is that.

  • If you are Agnostic, you just don’t know. You are not sure what is right or wrong. You don’t know what you should or shouldn’t believe. You just choose to not totally believe in anything.

  • There isn’t really any definitive proof for and against. Science can’t prove there is definitely life after death, yet it can’t prove there isn’t. It is up to you to choose what you believe in because as far as we are aware, there isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question. Many choose not to believe for this reason.