Yassin Alsalman, 26, was born in Dubai and began recording his music ten years ago in Abu Dhabi.
Yassin Alsalman, 26, was born in Dubai and began recording his music ten years ago in Abu Dhabi.

Rapper stands up for Arab viewpoint



DUBAI // An author, actor and hip-hop artist at the heart of modern Arab culture is urging young Muslims to recognise a duty to speak out and challenge stereotypes imposed by the West. Yassin Alsalman, who records under the name The Narcicyst and enjoys popularity in Canada and his native Dubai, counts himself as part of a privileged generation with a rare opportunity to have its voice heard. In Fear of an Arab Planet: The Diatribe of a Dying Tribe, a book addressing Arab and Muslim identity and for which he now seeking a publisher, Alsalman, 26, describes the "constant state of destruction" that has afflicted Iraq, the country of his parents' birth, throughout his life. "This meant my culture and identity have never met their definition," he writes. Educated in Abu Dhabi and Montreal, Alsalman, has recently moved back to the UAE to promote his music, book and a forthcoming film in which he is starring. "I am lucky to be in Dubai right now and to have a platform for my work," he said. "I am lucky that my father emigrated to Canada and I studied political science there. It means I can move back and forth between both worlds and can use my art to say something positive about people like me." Alsalman has released two albums under the name Euphrates, after the Iraq river, and two mix tapes as The Narcicyst. In the book manuscript, which he hopes will appear with an accompanying audio CD, he likens his culture as an Arab and a Muslim to the musical phenomenon of hip-hop, saying both are "under attack". Recording music, he says, is a way of translating events into social messages. "I talk about my own experiences and those of other Arab Americans my overall aim being to show people that we are not terrorists or radical figures of hate, we are just normal people," he says. But he acknowledges that difficulties arise from the competing experiences of his own life. "Watching American rappers on television juxtaposed with news reports from Baghdad," he writes, "I realised that my cultures are at war within themselves." Alsalman makes no attempt to avoid politics. With his mix tape being called Between Iraq and a Hard Placeand the title of his next album P.H.A.T.W.A. the acronym representing either Purposeful Hatred Against The Wrong Arabs or Political Hip-hop Attracting the World's Attention, he considers he is promoting "pro-religion, pro-life and pro-people" ideals. But he is deeply dismayed by the loss of culture in Iraq. "The troops in my motherland secured the oil pipelines but they didn't secure the museums," he says. "Therefore they were looted and much of our history vanished. They also took away children's writing materials. I wanted people to see this side of things as well as the corrupt politics." Unpublished though the book is, Alsalman's writing has already been praised by prominent Arab artists. The introduction was written by Suheir Hammad, a Palestinian-American poet and author, and the choice of a woman was deliberate. "Although my book was written the experiences of young male Arabs, I wanted to include a female point of view and Suheir gives my book that extra dimension," he says. P.H.A.T.W.A.will be released next year and Alsalman hopes to secure distribution in the Middle East. "It is not easy over here as some channels are very limited but you have to keep believing," he says. "As long as the music is powerful and the message is strong then that's all that matters. I know I have done everything I can to stand up for my people. Obviously it would be better if my motherland was not at war and that people's lives were not being destroyed but while it is I am thankful for being in this position and to be able to speak out against it." Alsalman started recording 10 years ago while living in Abu Dhabi. His first track, The Letter, was an audio message to the American government in response to the condition that Iraq was left in after the first Gulf War. It was in Montreal after the September 11 attacks that Alsalman sensed the importance of his role as an artist. "There were so many misconceptions about Arabs being portrayed in the media and in public channels that I saw it as my duty to speak about what people of my age and my culture were really going through," he says. "I had to temper the anger of my early music and make music that people could relate to on a human level. aseaman@thenational.ae

TYPES OF ONLINE GIG WORK

Design, multimedia and creative work: Logo design, website design, visualisations

Business and professional management: Legal or management consulting, architecture

Business and professional support: Research support, proofreading, bookkeeping

Sales and marketing support: Search engine optimisation, social media marketing

Data entry, administrative, and clerical: Data entry tasks, virtual assistants

IT, software development and tech: Data analyst, back-end or front-end developers

Writing and translation: Content writing, ghost writing, translation

Online microtasks: Image tagging, surveys

Source: World Bank

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.

The specs

Engine: 6.4-litre V8
Transmission: 8-speed auto
Power: 470bhp
Torque: 637Nm
Price: Dh375,900 (estimate)
On sale: now

Dirham Stretcher tips for having a baby in the UAE

Selma Abdelhamid, the group's moderator, offers her guide to guide the cost of having a young family:

• Buy second hand stuff

 They grow so fast. Don't get a second hand car seat though, unless you 100 per cent know it's not expired and hasn't been in an accident.

• Get a health card and vaccinate your child for free at government health centres

 Ms Ma says she discovered this after spending thousands on vaccinations at private clinics.

• Join mum and baby coffee mornings provided by clinics, babysitting companies or nurseries.

Before joining baby classes ask for a free trial session. This way you will know if it's for you or not. You'll be surprised how great some classes are and how bad others are.

• Once baby is ready for solids, cook at home

Take the food with you in reusable pouches or jars. You'll save a fortune and you'll know exactly what you're feeding your child.

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Married Malala

Malala Yousafzai is enjoying married life, her father said.

The 24-year-old married Pakistan cricket executive Asser Malik last year in a small ceremony in the UK.

Ziauddin Yousafzai told The National his daughter was ‘very happy’ with her husband.

Zakat definitions

Zakat: an Arabic word meaning ‘to cleanse’ or ‘purification’.

Nisab: the minimum amount that a Muslim must have before being obliged to pay zakat. Traditionally, the nisab threshold was 87.48 grams of gold, or 612.36 grams of silver. The monetary value of the nisab therefore varies by current prices and currencies.

Zakat Al Mal: the ‘cleansing’ of wealth, as one of the five pillars of Islam; a spiritual duty for all Muslims meeting the ‘nisab’ wealth criteria in a lunar year, to pay 2.5 per cent of their wealth in alms to the deserving and needy.

Zakat Al Fitr: a donation to charity given during Ramadan, before Eid Al Fitr, in the form of food. Every adult Muslim who possesses food in excess of the needs of themselves and their family must pay two qadahs (an old measure just over 2 kilograms) of flour, wheat, barley or rice from each person in a household, as a minimum.

The Intruder

Director: Deon Taylor

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Michael Ealy, Meagan Good

One star

Results

5pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 2,200m; Winner: Gurm, Antonio Fresu (jockey), Eric Lemartinel (trainer)

5.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m; Winner: Al Nafece, Al Muatasm Al Balushi, Mohammed Ramadan

6pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,200m; Winner: Ashton Tourettes, Adrie de Vries, Ibrahim Aseel

6.30pm: Arabian Triple Crown – Group 3 (PA) Dh300,000 (T) 2,200m; Winner: Ottoman, Adrie de Vries, Abdallah Al Hammadi

7pm: Liwa Oasis – Group 2 (PA) 300,000 (T) 1,400m; Winner: Hakeemat Muscat, Szczepan Mazur, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami

7.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m; Winner: Ganbaru, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

WHAT IS GRAPHENE?

It was discovered in 2004, when Russian-born Manchester scientists Andrei Geim and Kostya Novoselov were experimenting with sticky tape and graphite, the material used as lead in pencils.

Placing the tape on the graphite and peeling it, they managed to rip off thin flakes of carbon. In the beginning they got flakes consisting of many layers of graphene. But when they repeated the process many times, the flakes got thinner.

By separating the graphite fragments repeatedly, they managed to create flakes that were just one atom thick. Their experiment led to graphene being isolated for the very first time.

In 2010, Geim and Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics. 

In Full Flight: A Story of Africa and Atonement
John Heminway, Knopff

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

No Windmills in Basra

Author: Diaa Jubaili

Pages: 180

Publisher: Deep Vellum Publishing 

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

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

The biog

Full name: Aisha Abdulqader Saeed

Age: 34

Emirate: Dubai

Favourite quote: "No one has ever become poor by giving"

The specs

Powertrain: Single electric motor
Power: 201hp
Torque: 310Nm
Transmission: Single-speed auto
Battery: 53kWh lithium-ion battery pack (GS base model); 70kWh battery pack (GF)
Touring range: 350km (GS); 480km (GF)
Price: From Dh129,900 (GS); Dh149,000 (GF)
On sale: Now

Small Victories: The True Story of Faith No More by Adrian Harte
Jawbone Press

Sri Lanka squad

Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Niroshan Dickwella, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Lakshan Sandakan, Vishwa Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Jeffrey Vandersay, Milinda Siriwardana, Roshen Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Charith Asalanka, Shaminda Eranga and Dhammika Prasad.

Results:

6.30pm: Handicap (Turf) | US$175,000 2,410m | Winner: Bin Battuta, Christophe Soumillon (jockey), Saeed bin Suroor (trainer)

7.05pm: UAE 1000 Guineas Trial Conditions (Dirt) | $100,000 1,400m | Winner: Al Hayette, Fabrice Veron, Ismail Mohammed

7.40pm: Handicap (T) $145,000 1,000m | Winner: Faatinah, Jim Crowley, David Hayes

8.15pm: Dubawi Stakes Group 3 (D) $200,000 1,200m | Winner: Raven’s Corner, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar

8.50pm: Singspiel Stakes Group 3 (T) $200,000 1,800m | Winner: Dream Castle, Christophe Soumillon, Saeed bin Suroor

9.25pm: Handicap (T) $175,000 1,400m​​​ | Winner: Another Batt, Connor Beasley, George Scott

The specs

Engine: 4 liquid-cooled permanent magnet synchronous electric motors placed at each wheel

Battery: Rimac 120kWh Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (LiNiMnCoO2) chemistry

Power: 1877bhp

Torque: 2300Nm

Price: Dh7,500,00

On sale: Now

 

Pathaan

Director: Siddharth Anand 

Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham 

Rating: 3/5

WHAT ARE NFTs?

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are tokens that represent ownership of unique items. They allow the tokenisation of things such as art, collectibles and even real estate.

An NFT can have only one official owner at one time. And since they're minted and secured on the Ethereum blockchain, no one can modify the record of ownership, not even copy-paste it into a new one.

This means NFTs are not interchangeable and cannot be exchanged with other items. In contrast, fungible items, such as fiat currencies, can be exchanged because their value defines them rather than their unique properties.

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
The Orwell Prize for Political Writing

Twelve books were longlisted for The Orwell Prize for Political Writing. The non-fiction works cover various themes from education, gender bias, and the environment to surveillance and political power. Some of the books that made it to the non-fiction longlist include: 

  • Appeasing Hitler: Chamberlain, Churchill and the Road to War by Tim Bouverie
  • Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me by Kate Clanchy
  • Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
  • Follow Me, Akhi: The Online World of British Muslims by Hussein Kesvani
  • Guest House for Young Widows: Among the Women of ISIS by Azadeh Moaveni
The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now


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