Thursday, June 2, 2011

They gave their today for mankind’s tomorrow

Once more in recent days, we have received the disturbing news of the continuing persecution of the Bahá’í Faith in Iran, with the arrest of members of the” Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education” (BIHE).
This prompted me to pull out an older project, which was produced to highlight the suffering and martyrdom of many in the Faith. It is a static display, which can be used in a public space, or as part of a study circle, or other core activity.
This project would be suitable for a Junior Youth class, Study Circles (especially Books 4 and 7), or a fireside. Also if you are a member of Toastmasters, Rotary, or a similar group you could use the display as a visual aid for a speech. For the junior youth it could be a school “show and tell”.
We are cautioned to be process and not event driven, so the above should be activities in which you regularly participate, and are required to speak on some subject, so why not the persecution of the Faith.

For the display I purchased a red three section display board, however you could also use a large cardboard box.
Cut down the box to the correct height and remove one side. One side will form the central panel of the display and the other two can be cut to half its width. If the box is plain it may not be necessary to do anything, but it could be covered with paper or fabric to give the desired appearance, or simply painted.

Then gather suitable pictures from the internet or from magazines and newspapers, and plan the story you want to tell .
The display in this post is particularly appropriate, because here in America as we have just observed Memorial Day, where we remember those who gave their lives in service to their country. How much more appropriate is it to remember those who gave their lives for mankind. At the time I was making the display I had just finished reading a biography of General Slim who commanded the “Forgotten 14th Army “ in Burma during WWII, and was moved by the words of the Kohima memorial to the Commonwealth troops who fell in the defense of India and Burma.

“When you go home
Tell them of us, and say,
For your tomorrow
We gave our today”

Kohima Epitaph

I used that sentiment as the centre piece of the display, telling of the martyrs of the Faith from the time of the Bab to modern times.

Having mounted the picture, I got some candle images and roughly cut the display board with a craft knife. This was to represent the horror described by an Austrian officer, who’s account appears in Book 4, The life of Baha'u'llah, Section 9.
The rope and the musket balls in front of the display are to represent the martyrdom of the Bab.
I got a length of natural fiber rope frayed the ends and then using a craft knife cut or partially cut through the rope to simulate it being cut by the hundreds of musket balls. For the musket balls I used 12mm (1/2”) wooden balls. I spray painted them black and then applied a thin coat of silver to give a realistic effect.
I then cut some wooded skewers into 50mm (2”) lengths and stuck them into the top of the display board. Next I got a length of chain and spray painted it black and when dry hung it from the skewers at the top of the display. The final touch was to place candles on the protruding part of the skewers.
The chain represents the suffering of Baha'u'llah in the Siyah-Chal

I hope this has given you some ideas, and has also helped to focus your thoughts on the sacrifice of countless ordinary believers who “Gave their today for our tomorrow”.
We owe it to them to make that tomorrow count.
All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization. (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 214)

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