Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sometimes Silent Be a Crime

I consider myself lucky to have Ayda Aly as one of my FaceBook buddies. Because of the distance between our homes and our cultural differences, it's unlikely that she and I could have any other sort of contact. I live in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada, and Ayda lives in Alexandria, Egypt.

She is a young, devout, muslim woman, and I am none of those things. I have never met her, and I don't ever recall seeing her photograph, but she is my friend.

Ayda rescues cats. I don't know if she is the Egyptian Maria Soroski, or if Maria is the Canadian Ayda Aly, but I don't think that either would be offended by comparison with the other.

Yesterday, Ayda posted a photograph of the painting shown at the right of this post. She found it hanging in the window of a shop in Alexandria. It is by a renowned Lebanese artist, and Ayda was certainly impressed with its price tag. "How much?", she challenged her readers before answering her own question. It would be enough, she said, to spay, neuter and feed about two hundred of her street cats.

I like her priorities.

Mostly, Ayda posts stories and pictures of her rescued cats. Some of them have made me laugh until the tears run down my cheeks. Sometimes, her stories bring only the tears. She rescues sick cats as well as healthy ones, and lately, a number of her little ones have died in her care. She forgets that they would have died sooner without her, and is devastated by their loss.

Every day, she takes a long walk to feed her street cats, and she shares photos of them, some crowding close to her, hungry and grateful; others still keeping their distance, starving and suspicious. On her way, she takes pictures of her beautiful Alexandria, and she likes to share those too.

Egypt is unsettled these days. Demonstrators march in the streets, demanding that people have more say in the running of their country. That happens in Canada too, but here the police don't shoot them. The Egyptian government claims that forty people have died by violence in these protests; Ayda believes that it's over a thousand. She shares that news as well.

"Some times silent...", she explains, "be a crime..."

People are much the same the world over. I've never met anyone who is entirely good, and I don't think that anybody is completely evil. Most of us exist in the uneasy twilight between the two.We live our lives as best we can, and hope that we've made a difference.

People like Ayda are the difference. Thank you, my friend.

أنت نعمة.

To donate to Ayda's street cats


  1. i love to read your pieces Lee you're an excellent writer and a true man among cats..!
    And hey...way to go on the story of Kenny .. you have made it possible for him to pay his bills!
    Thanks so much for all you do!

  2. Lee, Ayda sounds like a remarkable lady and a very caring friend.

    Good blog....I enjoy reading your entries too :)

    Hope you have a great year ahead of you with your
    VOKRA mission and congratulations on Kenny's win!

  3. Hear, hear Karen - what she said! :-)

  4. AYDA risked her life during the revolutions curfew to go feed the cats in her city alexandria,, the price of food had skyrocketed, tuna was 5 dollars a can, so she even braved the protests where people were being killed by the police and went got tuna and mixed it with bread to make it last,,,there is no such thing as commercial cat food there