No Man Is an Island
I get sick every time I read or hear that Internet is dividing people. I remember the time, when there were no computers and Internet at all, and back then TV took all the blame. And in the time beforehand it must have been the radio, or phone. I guess, when a Stone Age guy introduced the fire to his tribesmen, there were birds who claimed it divides 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 Web in my pocket I’ve never 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. It’s like feeling a lifeline. Which sometimes is not the metaphor but the real thing.
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 the marvel of organizing a mass of people via Internet in a short time. This story has taken place just recently in Israel. There’s a very strong Israeli community of cat’s owners on Facebook. People there love cats and help stray animals and always have an eye for a feline in need.
One day, Alona, the group member posted, “… Jerusalem-Eilat 90 highway, spotted a little red kitten. It’s an outback. Someone took the kitten here and ditched him. The kitten looks clean with a round belly, so it couldn’t have happened too long ago. I’ll be back to Jerusalem on Saturday, I wish he’d wait for me. Got no box or stuff with me to take him to the inhabited area for him to stand a chance. Left some water to him in a thermos cup. Anyone on the way from Eilat to Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim, please, stop by, give him some water and food… or take him to the city, if you can. But the desert, the night, the jackals and the lonely mite…” Alona then named the bus stop in a close vicinity and pleaded help from volunteers, because with no food and water to sustain him, with no shelter whatever the kitten would be done for.
The darkness was approaching and other group members and volunteers started calling the highway patrol and the animal rescue, but in vain. A car ride there would take 3 hours and by any rates it would be too late for the kitten. Vera, a woman from Haifa, read the post while stuck in a traffic jam. She looked the bus stop up on Google Maps and remembered that her ex’s friend lived in a moshav nearby. They have lost contact many years ago but she had run into him on Russian social network called Odnoklassniki (Odnoklassniki stands for ‘classmates’ in Russian). Vera knew neither mail, nor phone of his, the social network account being the only hope. She even doubted she remembered right about the moshav, for all she knew, Ilya (so was the man’s name) could have moved to some other place. Yet, Vera left him her phone number and asked to call back urgently. So he did. Ilya turned out to be a great pet lover and agreed to help immediately.
Ilya went to the specified bus stop with a torch and a mobile and the desert rescue mission began. It was dark and the cat got scared, he had squeezed himself into a crack between two boulders and stayed there quietly. If you’ve ever lamented about looking for the cat in a living room, just imagine how it feels doing in a night desert. Ilya was about to give up, when he spotted the eye sparkle and found the mite. He grabbed him, put in a cat carrier and brought back to his moshav. The cat turned out to be a girl and has already found a new loving family. Ilya’s old cat was very reluctant to welcome the newcomer, so the rescued babe moved to the other household.
It took just half a day to organize the rescue of the pet. And the speed people shared the information with was critical here. I’m sure, if you think for a while, you’ll remember other cases, when people brought together by the Web, help other graver cases, perhaps. I chose this story first, because it has a happy end and second, because I personally was fascinated with it. Finding a person, you met half a life ago and reach him or her – that’s precious.
They say, there’re only six handshakes between you and any other person on the planet. Kevin Bacon proved it. And with Internet, I guess, the number of handshakes has dropped to three or two. I reckon, there’s a consequence from this theory of handshakes. It says: wherever you’re, you can always find a friend or a friend’s friend who can help you or know someone else who can give you a hand. Just don’t forget to charge your mobile and stay online.