Let us go on bravely!
I went to war and into the fiery battle. Not with swords, but with words, with clearest mind and most sincere intentions, all to find truth and seek peace.
Yes, it’s about the fundraiser.
I remembered how they went. The cheers and laughter, the heated discussion, their youth, their spirit. There was no evil in their voices, there was no harm ever felt. Our meetings, our plans, their power, the joy we shared in helping animals. It’s just too peculiar that despite everything the end result is always the opposite.
I heard the voices of my friends near and far; their dismay, their sorrow, their grief, their anger. I remembered how they reach deeper and further to hold me, far and away, so that although I fell and bled, I will not die. So that I can pull myself together, and walk with the world that goes on, whichever way I so prefer.
I have considered patience, friendship, forgiveness, and generosity. I have tried all sort of reasons to turn my back, accept these things that I cannot change, and move on. I did for a few days.
But late at night, when peace falls onto earth at last and everyone is silent, I heard my conscience loud and clear.
This war is not mine. It’s that of my beloved brethren who have been denied their voice, their rights, their hopes, their lives.
This war is about each and every heartbeat they have spent in the dark: hungry, abused, abandoned, neglected, harmed, tortured, diseased, killed. Each and every heartbeat they have given their best to keep until they found me.
And when they found me, they entrusted whatever was left in their lives in my hand to buy the rights that should be theirs to begin: to live and to love.
So when one of them, new to the firm, asked if he can come along riding across town feeding the strays and the colonies, I prepared twice as much ration with whatever money I have left, and took him twice as far and beyond until my energy dried and my legs gave up.
At the end of the journey, when I took him to that little tent where we used to have dinner, at 3 or 4 in the next morning. I told him my story. I told him what I would have done if I had the money they said they raised for me. None of those include my personal pleasure; because my personal pleasure is when these cats, my brothers and sisters and sons and daughters, and father and mother, be alleviated from all their suffering, and live as they should be to the end of their days, however long or short might those be.
I told him how their attitude did not add up, because every meeting all the programs are different.
And I mock him at the end of our meeting with an apology for holding him up listening to an old hag’s story, telling him to listen and be obedient to his superiors like all the others, and wish him luck for his new career.
Few days later he called me.
He said he sat by his leader telling my story, and call his friends out for their sidings.
Last Thursday I went to their office, meet everyone all the way up – by his invitation – to seek justice and to settle the case, and I went there one more time, one last time.
This time I made it clear that these cats who have found me and my home, these cats who sat in the cold of the night bearing rain and summer have bid – and they pay such bid with their lives – that my voice be theirs and those of their kind still fighting for a chance to live.
We listened to each other’s story, and found out what went wrong. Whiskers’ Syndicate was their first client for animal welfare. Prior to that they only ran fundraisers for the poor and natural disasters. So they took materials from our site, took pictures of our cats, and off they go. Thelma was the first story. I have nothing to lose, they have not much to hope. This is, after all, Indonesia: a country without animal welfare law.
When our fundraiser went boom, their leader saw how potential animal welfare actually is, and how far the young of the nations have gone, he asked for their own fundraiser, so they can help other rescues.
They took our fundraiser’s material, made a similar ad, and put it on their own page. Since they have more interactions as a general fundraiser than Whiskers’ Syndicate’s limited niche, Facebook and their friends took their ad and kill ours, as well as those of the other rescues that joined after us.
Young and inexperienced, they didn’t know better, and took everything as fate. They tried to share with us, knowing that they took our materials, but since the money does not belong to them, they need approval for everything, and all the programs they keep asking me (whether they can fund) went out in different direction.
Indeed it’s out of their control, but Facebook algorithm were explained years ago and they are the fundraiser, not us. They are the ones who should master the game.
“Why didn’t you tell me what happened, so we can discuss what can be done that both fundraising can live, and no cats should die?”
The silence that ensued, told me volumes about their panic and hopelessness as a new player.
But it also showed me how much they were eager to learn, otherwise I wouldn’t sit in front of them, asking questions. Otherwise they wouldn’t sit there bearing the shame to seek resolution.
We decided to break it up. Whatever they made with our materials, belong to us. Starting the next day they will make a separate advertisement and cover stories for each fundraiser. Starting the next day, we will start a new ground and work as partners, each in their own way, to reach the same goal: helping suffering animals. I will still have to see if they stay true to the agreement, but this is what I get, this is the best I can do, this is how far I can go.
They can use my cats if they need, they can use my stories, but it will not be the same as those of Whiskers’ Syndicate; will run at different times than those of Whiskers’ Syndicate; and that credit will be given when and where credit is due. What I heard another (unregistered) rescue in other town did not give their permission, so that their cats brings money to them only, but I know that if I ask you, the shareholders of the Whiskers’ Syndicate, you would have done what I do. If I ask you, the co-owner of Whiskers’ Syndicate, you would agree that we do not live forever. One day, these boys and girls, will have our shields and swords and go to war for suffering animals. One day, these boys and girls will be the one continuing the path we have opened, and be the change we all want to see in this world.
I know you will agree that no matter how advanced or behind, animal welfare has long way to go, but we have gone too far and have too much at a stake to stop now.
I know you will agree that warriors are not born, they are made. These young spirits have come to us with all their good intentions, it is our opportunity to polish their imperfections so they can grow to be stronger and better than us. That way, more animals can be helped, because those that are made of pure evil will not stop with us.
At long last, here I am, bowing my apologies for my spotty presence at best, leaving all of you in the dark, while I am fighting my own demons, and my own fear. However, I am the cats’ guardian, so I will hold this responsibility with honor.
But here I am, now that I put things behind once and for all, with renewed spirit and smile, ready to take on the next challenge with you.
Thank you all who are still standing by with your unwavering trust and loyalty. Thank you all who take pride in what we do.
Thank you all.
Now, let’s go.