Aleppo’s ‘cat man’ a ‘pawsitive’ force in war-torn Syria

Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel with his cats in Aleppo.
Updated 14 May 2017

Aleppo’s ‘cat man’ a ‘pawsitive’ force in war-torn Syria

JEDDAH: Those who have little, give the most. This is the case with the Syrian “cat man” who turned his house into a shelter for stray cats in war-torn Aleppo.
Unlike many Syrian families who fled the country after war broke out, Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel, 42, chose to remain and take
care of the less fortunate felines affected by the war.
“I’ll stay no matter what happens. Someone who has mercy in their heart for humans, has mercy for every living thing,” said Aljaleel.
Aljaleel once had six or seven hungry critters, but soon the tribe grew to 170 in no time, where he built a sanctuary in 2015 and named it after his first cat “Ernesto’s House.”
Aljaleel is known as the “Cat Man of Aleppo” for caring for his feline friends, protecting, feeding and keeping them as healthy as possible.
Although cats had the lion’s share of Aljaleel’s care, children were also recipients of his kindness, as he used to open his house to schoolchildren who come to visit the sanctuary.
“All the schools and the children used to come and visit the sanctuary,” he said. “They would see the huge amount of cats that were left behind by their owners.”
Ernesto’s House was also targeted by bombs, which hit his town in November turning it into rubble, Most of his cats perished.
He was forced to flee the city with a handful of survivors.
Aljaleel was stubborn enough to start over and rebuild his shelter again from scratch.
Aljaleel shares his daily routine with his fur-babies on his Facebook page, which has gained followers from different countries around the world.
According to NBC News, some people in Spain and the United States have donated money and started fundraising campaigns to help him out with his new sanctuary.
The inspiring story of this Syrian man who, somehow, could overcome his loss to help the helpless affected his personal life. He ended up separating from his wife as the pressure grew between them as a result of his endeavor.


Man eats $120,000 piece of art — a banana taped to wall

Updated 08 December 2019

Man eats $120,000 piece of art — a banana taped to wall

MIAMI: The move was bananas ... or maybe the work was just too appealing.
A performance artist shook up the crowd at the Art Basel show in Miami Beach on Saturday when he grabbed a banana that had been duct-taped to a gallery wall and ate it.
The banana was, in fact, a work of art by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan titled “Comedian” and sold to a French collector for $120,000.
In a video posted on his Instagram account, David Datuna, who describes himself as a Georgian-born American artist living in New York, walks up to the banana and pulls it off the wall with the duct tape attached.
“Art performance ... hungry artist,” he said, as he peeled the fruit and took a bite. “Thank you, very good.”
A few bystanders could be heard giggling before a flustered gallery official whisked him to an adjoining space for questioning.
But the kerfuffle was resolved without a food fight.
“He did not destroy the art work. The banana is the idea,” Lucien Terras, director of museum relations for Galerie Perrotin, told the Miami Herald.
As it turns out, the value of the work is in the certificate of authenticity, the newspaper said. The banana is meant to be replaced.
A replacement banana was taped to the wall about 15 minutes after Datuna’s stunt.
“This has brought a lot of tension and attention to the booth and we’re not into spectacles,” Terras said. “But the response has been great. It brings a smile to a lot of people’s faces.”
Cattelan is perhaps best known for his 18-carat, fully functioning gold toilet called “America” that he had once offered on loan to US President Donald Trump.
The toilet, valued at around $5 to $6 million, was in the news again in September when it was stolen from Britain’s Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of wartime leader Winston Churchill, where it had been on display.