Monday, July 17, 2006

From Galil to Beyrout, an amazing, human internet discussion...

Dovster lives in Israel, in a Kibbutz on the border with Lebanon. BEYFlyer lives in Beyrout.
They're both veteran members of an internet forum,, where frequent flyers from around the world meet, chat, and exchange their best tips to earn miles, and the best way to use them.

They've never met and have "a long standing agreement" to meet for a drink sometime on the Lebanon-Israel border. Then on the morning of July 12, Dovster writes:

"Within the last few minutes eight Katuysha rockets were shot in my general direction (they sounded like they were very close). [...] (The Army just sent us SMSs telling us to go to our bomb shelters. It was followed by a second SMS telling us that they are now shooting at Hizbollah outposts.) No news as to whether my ex and her dog will be coming to my house."

What Dovster was then reporting live was the very beginning of the current Middle-East crisis, the rockets he heard being the diversion Hizbollah needed while they killed many israeli soldiers, and kidnapped 2 others. The IDF retaliation soon followed.

The way he describes it, a mixture of live event and personal life reporting, is what makes the conversation that followed extraordinary. BEYFlyer jumped in with his own comments, live from Lebanon (such as "Woke up this morning to the sounds of rockets exploding on the airport runway"), and both exchanged wishes of safety and peace.

Another example, by BEYFlyer, as he hides in the mountain of Beirout:
"Well, I don't know what's better and easier on the nerves; staying in Beirut with all the bombs falling around me or having to endure hours with my nieces as they destroy the living room around me??? Aggghhh... I need to get out of here for sure..."

Soon, the whole Flyertalk community and many more having heard about it by word-of-mouth, were riveted by this incredible thread, where (almost) no political comments appear. People all over the world are now reading it, amazed by the humanity that those two brought to the crisis, a welcomed heaven of peace and friendship in the middle of an escalating war.

As the moderators of the site put it:
"Both members are providing timely and quality information, and through their efforts are putting a human face on these dramatic world events. But beyond that, these two FTers -- one of whom is posting from his home in Beirut, the other from his home in Northern Israel --are demonstrating a level of caring and thoughtfulness toward each other that is at once remarkable, given the circumstances, and inspiring."

You can follow it by clicking on the following link. There has been almost 900 posts already, and it will take you around 4 hours to read it. I suggest printing it and reading it in the subway.
Click here

Or you can go directly to the last page and jump in the conversation.

I believe this is a prime example of the human power of the Internet, so go experience it yourself...

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