Palestinian inspects the Farouq Mosque was destroyed following an air strike in Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, July 12, 2014. Toll in the Gaza Strip topped 121, as Israel bombed dozens of targets overnight in the fifth day of air strikes. A statement by the Israeli army said it had targeted militants in early July 10, 12, six of them have been firing rockets into Israel at a time when it was launched. (Photo by Momen Faiz/NurPhoto) (Photo by NurPhoto/Corbis via Getty Images)
A girl discovers books in rubble in Gaza in July 2014. The lives of Palestinian writers are marked by conflict NurPhoto / Corbis via Getty Images

Book review: Pay No Heed to the Rockets



Marcello Di Cintio's Pay No Heed to the Rockets is a road trip in search of Palestine's writers. In just a little over 200 pages, Di Cintio introduces us to dozens of writers, each living a different creative life in cities ranging from Ramallah to Haifa to Gaza to Jerusalem.

Di Cintio is fortunate to meet authors as far north as Akka and as far south as Gaza City. While the distance travelled is less than 200 kilometres, it’s a journey most of the writers in the book would be unable to take.

The book's subtitle is "Palestine in the Present Tense", but Di Cintio starts his journey in the past, talking to family and friends of two of Palestine's late and most well-known writers: Mahmoud Darwish and Ghassan Kanafani.

The author’s first stop is Al Birwa, the village where Palestine’s national poet was born. For those familiar with Palestinian literature, there is not much new in the opening chapter. But its stories of expulsion, arrest and assassination set the stage for the rest of Di Cintio’s journey.

After Al Birwa, Di Cintio piles us back in the car and heads for Ramallah, where we meet the young writer Maya Abu-Alhayyat. Born to a Lebanese mother and a Palestine Liberation Organisation father, Abu-Alhayyat was raised in various Arab cities, not moving to Palestine until she was 16. She speaks frankly about the obstacles she's faced as a woman writer. First, she said, she wasn't taken seriously. Later, male writers wanted credit for discovering her. "But mostly the men want you to clap for them."

In proper road-trip fashion, the book features many unplanned encounters, such as when Di Cintio follows Abu-Alhayyat to a Ramallah bar. There, he meets the acclaimed playwright Dalia Taha, who chooses not to talk to him.

Another friend of Abu-Alhayyat's asks Di Cintio how he plans to "avoid being Orientalist" in his book. Part of the charm of Pay No Heed is that he admits he has no answer.

While still in Ramallah, Di Cintio meets Moheeb Barghouti when the author sits at Di Cintio’s cafe table and struggles to repair his glasses with crazy glue.

The book makes little distinction between greater and lesser-known writers, and Di Cintio spends as much time talking about Barghouti-of-the-broken-glasses as about the internationally renowned poet Ghassan Zaqtan.After all, Pay No Heed is less about great literature than it is about writers' lives.

Instead of hearing about Zaqtan's literary style, we hear about his trouble getting visas to travel to the US and Canada. Unsurprisingly, the restrictions put on Palestinian writers and their literature is not the book's only story. Di Cintio meets Sharif Kanaana, whose collection of Palestinian folk tales, Speak Bird Speak, was pulled from school shelves by Hamas. The book also details the banning last year of Abbad Yahya's novel Crime in Ramallah, for which the author also received death threats. Di Cintio doesn't present these moments in a vacuum, but rather with care and context.

From Ramallah, Di Cintio travels to Nablus, where he meets Wisam Rafeedi, who discusses the complex world of writing while in prison. Rafeedi describes how, sometimes, whole books were smuggled out in prisoners’ rectums. While in an Israeli prison, Rafeedi himself wrote a memoir.

During inspections, he tells us, Rafeedi’s fellow prisoners “would fasten his manuscript to a fax [a hunk of bread] and throw it to sections of the camp that weren’t being searched”. But one poor throw meant the manuscript was confiscated and lost for ever.

Pay No Heed also gives us a glimpse of the wider literary ecosystems in and around historic Palestine. Di Cintio talks not just to authors, but also to librarians, publishers, and booksellers.

While in Jerusalem, Di Cintio meets Mahmoud Muna, the proprietor of the Palestine Educational Bookshop, who discusses the difficulties of importing books, and how the demand for Arabic texts has declined at their East Jerusalem location, replaced by an increased demand for English literature, instead.

Di Cintio also visits three young Palestinian writers who have Israeli citizenship – Ala Hlehel, Raji Bathish, and Asmaa Azaizeh – and talks about their complicated creative lives. Hlehel, for instance, was unable to travel to the "Beirut39" gathering after he was named one of the "39 most promising writers under 39". First, he was blocked by Israel, then by Lebanon. Finally – when both had given permission for him to travel – a volcano erupted in Iceland, and his flight was cancelled.

This literary road trip is not without time spent at a number of different checkpoints. When Di Cintio goes to the Erez checkpoint to enter Gaza at 8.30am, he's told it might open at 10am, while it really opens at noon. Yet, once inside, he has the great fortune of meeting writers Atef Abu Saif and Asma Al Ghul.

Here, the book has one of its most poignant moments. It quotes the outspoken feminist journalist Al Ghul as saying she always wanted to write and never wanted to get involved in politics. The author’s voice follows, saying: “I didn’t believe her.”

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Read more:

Book review: 'Warlight' is a shadowy, dimly lit novel of seductive beauty

Book review: Ben White's Cracks in the Wall looks at Israel in isolation

Book review: 'Divided: Why We're Living in an Age of Walls' by Tim Marshall

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Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

The specs

Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six

Power: 650hp at 6,750rpm

Torque: 800Nm from 2,500-4,000rpm

Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch auto

Fuel consumption: 11.12L/100km

Price: From Dh796,600

On sale: now

Libya's Gold

UN Panel of Experts found regime secretly sold a fifth of the country's gold reserves.

The panel’s 2017 report followed a trail to West Africa where large sums of cash and gold were hidden by Abdullah Al Senussi, Qaddafi’s former intelligence chief, in 2011.

Cases filled with cash that was said to amount to $560m in 100 dollar notes, that was kept by a group of Libyans in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

A second stash was said to have been held in Accra, Ghana, inside boxes at the local offices of an international human rights organisation based in France.

Know your Camel lingo

The bairaq is a competition for the best herd of 50 camels, named for the banner its winner takes home

Namoos - a word of congratulations reserved for falconry competitions, camel races and camel pageants. It best translates as 'the pride of victory' - and for competitors, it is priceless

Asayel camels - sleek, short-haired hound-like racers

Majahim - chocolate-brown camels that can grow to weigh two tonnes. They were only valued for milk until camel pageantry took off in the 1990s

Millions Street - the thoroughfare where camels are led and where white 4x4s throng throughout the festival

Reputation

Taylor Swift

(Big Machine Records)

What is cystic fibrosis?
  • Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas and other organs.
  • It causes the production of thick, sticky mucus that can clog the airways and lead to severe respiratory and digestive problems.
  • Patients with the condition are prone to lung infections and often suffer from chronic coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
  • Life expectancy for sufferers of cystic fibrosis is now around 50 years.

Directed by Sam Mendes

Starring Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays

4.5/5

Porsche Taycan Turbo specs

Engine: Two permanent-magnet synchronous AC motors

Transmission: two-speed

Power: 671hp

Torque: 1050Nm

Range: 450km

Price: Dh601,800

On sale: now

57 Seconds

Director: Rusty Cundieff
Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Morgan Freeman, Greg Germann, Lovie Simone
Rating: 2/5

Five calorie-packed Ramadan drinks

Rooh Afza
100ml contains 414 calories
Tang orange drink
100ml serving contains 300 calories
Carob beverage mix
100ml serving contains about 300 calories
Qamar Al Din apricot drink
100ml saving contains 61 calories
Vimto fruit squash
100ml serving contains 30 calories

How Tesla’s price correction has hit fund managers

Investing in disruptive technology can be a bumpy ride, as investors in Tesla were reminded on Friday, when its stock dropped 7.5 per cent in early trading to $575.

It recovered slightly but still ended the week 15 per cent lower and is down a third from its all-time high of $883 on January 26. The electric car maker’s market cap fell from $834 billion to about $567bn in that time, a drop of an astonishing $267bn, and a blow for those who bought Tesla stock late.

The collapse also hit fund managers that have gone big on Tesla, notably the UK-based Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust and Cathie Wood’s ARK Innovation ETF.

Tesla is the top holding in both funds, making up a hefty 10 per cent of total assets under management. Both funds have fallen by a quarter in the past month.

Matt Weller, global head of market research at GAIN Capital, recently warned that Tesla founder Elon Musk had “flown a bit too close to the sun”, after getting carried away by investing $1.5bn of the company’s money in Bitcoin.

He also predicted Tesla’s sales could struggle as traditional auto manufacturers ramp up electric car production, destroying its first mover advantage.

AJ Bell’s Russ Mould warns that many investors buy tech stocks when earnings forecasts are rising, almost regardless of valuation. “When it works, it really works. But when it goes wrong, elevated valuations leave little or no downside protection.”

A Tesla correction was probably baked in after last year’s astonishing share price surge, and many investors will see this as an opportunity to load up at a reduced price.

Dramatic swings are to be expected when investing in disruptive technology, as Ms Wood at ARK makes clear.

Every week, she sends subscribers a commentary listing “stocks in our strategies that have appreciated or dropped more than 15 per cent in a day” during the week.

Her latest commentary, issued on Friday, showed seven stocks displaying extreme volatility, led by ExOne, a leader in binder jetting 3D printing technology. It jumped 24 per cent, boosted by news that fellow 3D printing specialist Stratasys had beaten fourth-quarter revenues and earnings expectations, seen as good news for the sector.

By contrast, computational drug and material discovery company Schrödinger fell 27 per cent after quarterly and full-year results showed its core software sales and drug development pipeline slowing.

Despite that setback, Ms Wood remains positive, arguing that its “medicinal chemistry platform offers a powerful and unique view into chemical space”.

In her weekly video view, she remains bullish, stating that: “We are on the right side of change, and disruptive innovation is going to deliver exponential growth trajectories for many of our companies, in fact, most of them.”

Ms Wood remains committed to Tesla as she expects global electric car sales to compound at an average annual rate of 82 per cent for the next five years.

She said these are so “enormous that some people find them unbelievable”, and argues that this scepticism, especially among institutional investors, “festers” and creates a great opportunity for ARK.

Only you can decide whether you are a believer or a festering sceptic. If it’s the former, then buckle up.

Where can I submit a sample?

Volunteers can now submit DNA samples at a number of centres across Abu Dhabi. The programme is open to all ages.

Collection centres in Abu Dhabi include:

  • Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC)
  • Biogenix Labs in Masdar City
  • Al Towayya in Al Ain
  • NMC Royal Hospital in Khalifa City
  • Bareen International Hospital
  • NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Ain
  • NMC Royal Medical Centre - Abu Dhabi
  • NMC Royal Women’s Hospital.
Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

The Letter Writer

Director: Layla Kaylif

Stars: Eslam Al Kawarit, Rosy McEwen, Muhammad Amir Nawaz

Rating: 2/5

Roll of honour

Who has won what so far in the West Asia Premiership season?

Western Clubs Champions League - Winners: Abu Dhabi Harlequins; Runners up: Bahrain

Dubai Rugby Sevens - Winners: Dubai Exiles; Runners up: Jebel Ali Dragons

West Asia Premiership - Winners: Jebel Ali Dragons; Runners up: Abu Dhabi Harlequins

UAE Premiership Cup - Winners: Abu Dhabi Harlequins; Runners up: Dubai Exiles

West Asia Cup - Winners: Bahrain; Runners up: Dubai Exiles

West Asia Trophy - Winners: Dubai Hurricanes; Runners up: DSC Eagles

Final West Asia Premiership standings - 1. Jebel Ali Dragons; 2. Abu Dhabi Harlequins; 3. Bahrain; 4. Dubai Exiles; 5. Dubai Hurricanes; 6. DSC Eagles; 7. Abu Dhabi Saracens

Fixture (UAE Premiership final) - Friday, April 13, Al Ain – Dubai Exiles v Abu Dhabi Harlequins

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2

Vinicius Junior (71') Mariano (90+2')

Barcelona 0

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Dubai World Cup Carnival Card:

6.30pm: Handicap US$135,000 (Turf) 1,200m
7.05pm: Handicap $135,000 (Dirt) 1,200m​​​​​​​
7.40pm: Zabeel Turf Listed $175,000 (T) 2,000m​​​​​​​
8.15pm: Cape Verdi Group Two $250,000 (T) 1,600m​​​​​​​
8.50pm: Handicap $135,000 (D) 1,600m​​​​​​​
9.25pm: Handicap $175,000 (T) 1,600m

Abu Dhabi race card

5pm: Maiden (PA) | Dh80,000 | 1,600m
5.30pm: Maiden (PA) | ​​​​​​​Dh80,000 | 1,400m
6pm: Liwa Oasis (PA) Group 2 |​​​​​​​ Dh300,000 | 1,400m
6.30pm: Arabian Triple Crown Round-2 (PA) Group 3 | Dh300,000 | 2,200m
7pm: Wathba Stallions Cup (PA) Handicap | Dh70,000 | 1,600m
7.30pm: Maiden (TB) |​​​​​​​ Dh80,000 | 2,200m

Results

6.30pm Al Maktoum Challenge Round-3 Group 1 (PA) US$100,000 (Dirt) 2,000m, Winner Bandar, Fernando Jara (jockey), Majed Al Jahouri (trainer).

7.05pm Meydan Classic Listed (TB) $175,000 (Turf) 1,600m, ​​​​​​​Winner Well Of Wisdom, William Buick, Charlie Appleby.

7.40pm Handicap (TB) $135,000 (T) 2,000m, ​​​​​​​Winner Star Safari, Mickael Barzalona, Charlie Appleby.

8.15pm Handicap (TB) $135,000 (D) 1,600m, Winner Moqarrar, Fabrice Veron, Erwan Charpy.

8.50pm Nad Al Sheba Trophy Group 2 (TB) $300,000 (T) 2,810m, Winner Secret Advisor, William Buick, Charlie Appleby.

9.25pm Curlin Stakes Listed (TB) $175,000 (D) 2,000m, ​​​​​​​Winner Parsimony, William Buick, Doug O’Neill.

10pm Handicap (TB) $135,000 (T) 2,000m, Winner Simsir, Ronan Whelan, Michael Halford.

10.35pm Handicap (TB) $175,000 (T) 1,400m, ​​​​​​​Winner Velorum, Mickael Barzalona, Charlie Appleby.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance: the specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 plus rear-mounted electric motor

Power: 843hp at N/A rpm

Torque: 1470Nm N/A rpm

Transmission: 9-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 8.6L/100km

On sale: October to December

Price: From Dh875,000+(estimate)

Company profile

Name: GiftBag.ae

Based: Dubai

Founded: 2011

Number of employees: 4

Sector: E-commerce

Funding: Self-funded to date

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: N2 Technology

Founded: 2018

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Startups

Size: 14

Funding: $1.7m from HNIs

MATCH INFO

Bangla Tigers 108-5 (10 ovs)

Ingram 37, Rossouw 26, Pretorius 2-10

Deccan Gladiators 109-4 (9.5 ovs)

Watson 41, Devcich 27, Wiese 2-15

Gladiators win by six wickets

The biog

Favourite car: Ferrari

Likes the colour: Black

Best movie: Avatar

Academic qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in media production from the Higher Colleges of Technology and diploma in production from the New York Film Academy

Playing records of the top 10 in 2017

How many games the top 10 have undertaken in the 2017 ATP season

1. Rafael Nadal 58 (49-9)

2. Andy Murray 35 (25-10)

3. Roger Federer 38 (35-3)

4. Stan Wawrinka 37 (26-11)

5. Novak Djokovic 40 (32-8)

6. Alexander Zverev 60 (46-14)

7. Marin Cilic 43 (29-14)

8. Dominic Thiem 60 (41-19)

9. Grigor Dimitrov 48 (34-14)

10. Kei Nishikori 43 (30-13)

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

Bridgerton season three - part one

Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5


The Arts Edit

A guide to arts and culture, from a Middle Eastern perspective

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