No Man Is an Island
I get sick every time I read or hear that the Internet is dividing people. I remember the time when there were no computers or Internet at all, so the TV took all the blame. And the time before that, it was probably the radio or the phone that was responsible for dividing the country. I bet, when the first caveman introduced the fire to his tribesmen, there were probably birds whispering about how it was dividing people. Really, in the centuries before the fire, people had to sleep together, hugging each other for warmth, and now everyone got his own hearth to stick to and mind his own business. That was not the attitude!
With the Web in my pocket, I’ve never actually felt like an island, but like a part of a large continent. I’ve come to know so many interesting people I’d have never met otherwise. Some of them became my friends in real life, some remained Facebook friends. But the fact remains, that I have those friendships because of the inclusiveness that the Internet provides.
Let me tell how social network saved the life of one little creature. This is not only the marvel of friendship and help, but also a culmination of organizing a mass of people via Internet, within a short amount of time. This story took place recently in Israel. The Israeli people have a reputation for being animal lovers in general, but also for having a special fondness to felines in particular. There is a large Facebook group of cat owners in the country that keep in touch over the internet.
One day, a member of the Feline Facebook group named Alona, posted, “…Today I spotted a little red, stray kitten. I believe someone took the kitten out to the Eilat 90 highway and ditched him. It looked clean with a round belly, so it couldn’t have happened too long ago. I didn’t have a box with me or anything to care for him, and I’m headed out of twon until Saturday. I did what I could and left some water to her in a thermos cup. If anyone is on their way from Eilat to Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim, please, stop by, give her some water and food… or take her to the city, if you can. We all know she won’t last long in the desert overnight.” Alona then named the bus stop in a close vicinity and pleaded help from volunteers.
Because it was already close to nighttime, some of the other group members started calling the highway patrol as well as animal rescue. A car ride there would have taken 3 hours for most people and the kitten wouldn’t have had a chance left alone in the desert that late.
A woman from Haifa however, named Vera, happened to read the post while stuck in a traffic jam. Although she wasn’t near the stop herself, she was able to search for the bus stop on Google Maps, and realized it was rather close to an old friend who lived in Mashav. Because her friend had actually been a mutual friend through her ex, she hadn’t talked to him in many years. But, through the magic of the internet, she had recently come across his name on a Russian social network called, Odnoklassniki. (Odnoklassniki means ‘classmates’. Vera didn’t know his phone number, or any other way to reach him, so the social network account was her only hope. Vera left him her phone number and asked him to call her back urgently, and fortunately, he did. Her friend Ilya, ended up still living in the area and was a great pet lover as well. He agreed to help immediately.
Ilya went to the specified bus stop with a torch and a mobile phone, and so, the desert rescue mission began. It was already dark, because the kitten was scared, she had squeezed herself into a crack between two boulders and remained very quiet. If you have a cat and have ever had to search for it while it was hiding in your living room, just imagine how it feels searching in a desert at night! After some time, Ilya was about to give up, but he spotted the a sparkle from the kittens eye as he was turning to leave. From there, we can say the rest is history. The little kitten found herself a new and loving home with another friend of Ilya after her rescue.
This happy story took less than half a day to organize this kitten’s resce. When it comes to a person or animal’s life, the speed of traveling information is critical. I’m sure, if you think for a while, you can remember other cases where people have been brought together by the Web. Sometimes they are reunited friends or family, sometimes they save an animal and other times they can save children in a grave situation. I chose this story first, because it has a happy end and second, because I personally was fascinated with it. Finding a person that you met years ago and lost touch with, so quickly and easily in order to save a life – that’s precious.
They say, there’re only six handshakes between you and any other person on the planet. Kevin Bacon proved it. And now, with the Internet, I bet the number of handshakes can drop to only two or three. Just don’t forget, to charge your mobile and stay online, because without the internet, we really would be divided.