Art by Yazan Halwani.
Art by Yazan Halwani.

The Old Building by Lebanese poet Zeina Hashem Beck



Dubai-based Lebanese poet Zeina Hashem Beck, whose book To Live in Autumn by Backwaters Press will be launched in Dubai today, shares one of her peoms about Beirut from the collection

The Old Building

Floor I

Water could not reach higher

than the first floor those days,

(that is what I recall)

so we spent our mornings going up

and down, up and down

to the first floor,

with buckets in our hands.

Mama sometimes sang and said

she had a great voice

and could’ve been a star.

I climbed and thought her voice

lifted the heat for a while,

resembled the water in our hands,

reflected the color of her eyes—

blue, inevitable, clear,

as I plunged into it and sang.

The stairs were more crowded

than the streets,

as if life were transferred

to that vertical world with yellow walls,

and permeated the small bullet holes.

Floor IV

I don’t remember anyone’s

name, except for the oldest son Yasseen,

whose madness imposed itself on us,

whom we found from time to time,

unconscious on the night stairs,

like a garbage bag at our feet.

Floor V

Umm Jamal’s laughter trembled,

settled in the fat around her waist.

As I ate she insisted

that I eat everything with bread,

told me her granddaughter

loved ketchup too.

One day she dusted her photo frames,

arranged them in sunlit angles,

braided her long winter hair in a bun,

pinned it to the back of her head

and stopped aging.

Floor VII

Raymond lived with his mother

who went sideways down the stairs,

click, click, slowly, click,

(they say the war disturbs your walk).

Sometimes he sang in the shower

“Hiroshima, Hiroshima,

boom boom boom,

boom boom boom,”

until the ambulance flickered in the dark

like an ominous red star.

One day on the stairs,

time decided to

stop, cut itself in two,

let Raymond descend

from his room on the seventh.

I looked and told myself,

“Do not fear poor Raymond,

poor Raymond, he’s so calm.”

Floor IX

Ammo Jawad couldn’t part

with the city, and its cafés, its streets.

On nights when the heat

grabbed you by the throat,

he slept on the balcony, smoked cigars,

wrote to his family in Dallas,

scribbled Arabic poetry across the sky

and dreamt

of the ’60s, of fields of wild thyme

and a cold light breeze.

Floor VI

The beautiful mother with blue eyes

shouted to the grocery store

from the balcony every other day,

I can still hear her say,

“Tomatoes, rice, tissues, and

Always, Always,

the thin ones please.”

The father smoked Gitanes and

politics, wanted to change his car,

wanted to change his life.

He sang me to sleep every night,

planted my name

among olives and jasmine trees.

The little girl with crooked teeth

biked on the balcony with her brother,

remembers nothing of the civil war,

except a man singing to Hiroshima,

buckets filled with water, stairs,

and a little candle in the corridor

lit so she won’t be afraid of the dark.

Published in To Live in Autumn (The Backwaters Press, 2014)

aahmed@thenational.ae

Friday’s fixture

6.15pm: Al Wahda v Hatta

6.15pm: Al Dhafra v Ajman

9pm: Al Wasl v Baniyas

9pm: Fujairah v Sharjah

.

Mountain Boy

Director: Zainab Shaheen

Starring: Naser Al Messabi

Rating: 3/5

The past Palme d'Or winners

2018 Shoplifters, Hirokazu Kore-eda

2017 The Square, Ruben Ostlund

2016 I, Daniel Blake, Ken Loach

2015 DheepanJacques Audiard

2014 Winter Sleep (Kış Uykusu), Nuri Bilge Ceylan

2013 Blue is the Warmest Colour (La Vie d'Adèle: Chapitres 1 et 2), Abdellatif Kechiche, Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux

2012 Amour, Michael Haneke

2011 The Tree of LifeTerrence Malick

2010 Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Lung Bunmi Raluek Chat), Apichatpong Weerasethakul

2009 The White Ribbon (Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte), Michael Haneke

2008 The Class (Entre les murs), Laurent Cantet

THREE

Director: Nayla Al Khaja

Starring: Jefferson Hall, Faten Ahmed, Noura Alabed, Saud Alzarooni

Rating: 3.5/5

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Company name: Play:Date

Launched: March 2017 on UAE Mother’s Day

Founder: Shamim Kassibawi

Based: Dubai with operations in the UAE and US

Sector: Tech 

Size: 20 employees

Stage of funding: Seed

Investors: Three founders (two silent co-founders) and one venture capital fund

TWISTERS

Director:+Lee+Isaac+Chung

Starring:+Glen+Powell,+Daisy+Edgar-Jones,+Anthony+Ramos

Rating:+2.5/5

SPEC SHEET: NOTHING PHONE (2a)

Display: 6.7” flexible Amoled, 2412 x 1080, 394ppi, 120Hz, Corning Gorilla Glass 5

Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro, 4nm, octa-core

Memory: 8/12GB

Capacity: 128/256GB

Platform: Android 14, Nothing OS 2.5

Main camera: Dual 50MP main, f/1.88 + 50MP ultra-wide, f/2.2; OIS, EIS, auto-focus, ultra XDR, night mode

Main camera video: 4K @ 30fps, full-HD @ 60fps; slo-mo full-HD at 120fps

Front camera: 32MP wide, f/2.2

Battery: 5000mAh; 50% in 30 mins w/ 45w charger

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Google Pay)

Biometrics: Fingerprint, face unlock

I/O: USB-C

Durability: IP54, limited protection from water/dust

Cards: Dual-nano SIM

Colours: Black, milk, white

In the box: Nothing Phone (2a), USB-C-to-USB-C cable, pre-applied screen protector, SIM tray ejector tool

Price (UAE): Dh1,199 (8GB/128GB) / Dh1,399 (12GB/256GB)

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

UAE Team Emirates

Valerio Conti (ITA)
Alessandro Covi (ITA)
Joe Dombrowski (USA)
Davide Formolo (ITA)
Fernando Gaviria (COL)
Sebastian Molano (COL)
Maximiliano Richeze (ARG)
Diego Ulissi (ITAS)

Other simple ideas for sushi rice dishes

Cheat’s nigiri 
This is easier to make than sushi rolls. With damp hands, form the cooled rice into small tablet shapes. Place slices of fresh, raw salmon, mackerel or trout (or smoked salmon) lightly touched with wasabi, then press, wasabi side-down, onto the rice. Serve with soy sauce and pickled ginger.

Easy omurice
This fusion dish combines Asian fried rice with a western omelette. To make, fry cooked and cooled sushi rice with chopped vegetables such as carrot and onion and lashings of sweet-tangy ketchup, then wrap in a soft egg omelette.

Deconstructed sushi salad platter 
This makes a great, fuss-free sharing meal. Arrange sushi rice on a platter or board, then fill the space with all your favourite sushi ingredients (edamame beans, cooked prawns or tuna, tempura veggies, pickled ginger and chilli tofu), with a dressing or dipping sauce on the side.

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

MATCH INFO

UAE Division 1

Abu Dhabi Harlequins 12-24 Abu Dhabi Saracens

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

THE SPECS

Aston Martin Rapide AMR

Engine: 6.0-litre V12

Transmission: Touchtronic III eight-speed automatic

Power: 595bhp

Torque: 630Nm

Price: Dh999,563

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

THE SPECS

GMC Sierra Denali 1500

Engine: 6.2-litre V8

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

Power: 420hp

Torque: 623Nm

Price: Dh232,500

The specs

Engine: 1.5-litre 4-cylinder
Transmission: CVT
Power: 119bhp
Torque: 145Nm
Price: Dh,89,900 ($24,230)
On sale: now

Hamilton’s 2017

Australia - 2nd; China - 1st; Bahrain - 2nd; Russia - 4th; Spain - 1st; Monaco - 7th; Canada - 1st; Azerbaijan - 5th; Austria - 4th; Britain - 1st; Hungary - 4th; Belgium - 1st; Italy - 1st; Singapore - 1st; Malaysia - 2nd; Japan - 1st; United States - 1st; Mexico - 9th

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

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