Across Palestine, From The Allenby Bridge And Ramallah, To Jerusalem And Gaza, Marcello Di Cintio Has Met With Writers, Poets, Librarians, Booksellers And Readers, Finding Extraordinary Stories In Every Corner Stories Of How Revolutionary Writing Is Smuggled From The Naqab Prison About What It Is Like To Write With Only Two Hours Of Electricity Each Day And Stories From The Gallery Caf , Whose Opening Three Thousand Creative Intellectuals Gathered To Celebrate Pay No Heed To The Rockets Offers A Window Into The Literary Heritage Of Palestine That Transcends The Narrow Language Of Conflict Paying Homage To The Memory Of Literary Giants Like Mahmoud Darwish And Ghassan Kanafani And The Contemporary Authors They Continue To Inspire, This Evocative, Lyrical Journey Shares Both The Anguish And Inspiration Of Palestinian Writers At Work Today I am endlessly grateful to Marcello Di Cinto for this book As a Palestinian, I tend to avoid reading about Palestine from non Palestinian writers, because they always focus on the conflict, and often with hostile or condescending overtones However, Di Cinto does the complete opposite of this, he highlights the diversity of the Palestinian experience, the complex of identities from Gaza, to West Bank, Israel, etc , the artistic communities, and everyday struggles of the people, and he does it all with such honest compassion and appreciation that I was truly moved by this book He wrote about Palestinians as true individual people and by doing so gave us a narrative of common humanity that I rarely see What s , since Palestine isn t an easy country to get to, the details about the different settings he experienced and the people he met there reminded me of my own time there, reading it was like being back in the homeland for a bit, which is just another reason why I loved it. Definitely one of the best books I have read and a must for everyone It serves two very important purposes First, it gives an exhaustive introduction to Palestine s literature, from established greats to teenagers posting stories on Facebook I am very interested in global literatures and it s hard to find fresh, young writing which hadn t yet gone through publication at the very least in the native language for someone who can t read in said language Now that I know where to look, I can try reading them via online translators Yes, not the best way, but much better than having a whole massive chunk of culture missing I wish there were similar projects done about other countries, although, of course, not many regions have existed on the intersection of such rich written culture and war and occupation for such a long time It s just so illogical that a society which pays so much attention to lifting up the narratives of people living through Holocaust undoubtedly important and crucial to read has little interest in the writings of people living through a different genocide right now I can t thank Marcello Di Cintio enough for his research, his inquisitive mind, and his generosity in sharing his experiences with the reader The second way in which the book is astoundingly meaningful is that Di Cintio gives an unbiased view on the issues in Palestine from his position I read and listen to a lot of material on the Palestinian struggle from radical standpoints, but what always lingers in my mind is the question how does one live with it I ve been to Palestine, briefly, and try to ask people, but the essence still eludes me By telling stories of so many people who are close to literature, Di Cintio reveals what happens in Palestine, in Palestinian Jerusalem and in the occupied territories He paints portraits of people living between the intifadas and the Israeli attacks, between Hamas and Fatah, between wars, between homes, between hell and worse From grumpy older men who think women should serve at the table to fiery feminists, from privileged people to the poor, Di Cintio reveals a beautiful humane mundanity that is at the core of why we need to care about Palestine and its people.Even though many of Di Cintio s interlocutors say that literature does not have to be political, even when they write about something as benign as love affairs and bus rides, anything they write will be, by definition, political Just like personal blends with the political, writing is always political And so is reading And it is a rare pleasure to encounter a book that makes the political experience of reading such an enlightening one, widening the outlook and showing, not through fetishizing of the word, but through chronologizing the ways in which it prevails, that none of this will ever last but words will. I ve read quite a few books about Palestine and the one thing they share is that they are always centered around the current political situation and the fact of the occupation This book was a beautiful breath of fresh air in that Di Cintio who has traveled to and written about Palestine for almost 20 years in this collection introduces readers not to the political details, but to Palestinian artists poets, writers, librarians and journalists who are actively reflecting on life in Palestine in all its nuances I loved making my way through Jerusalem, the West Bank, Haifa and Gaza with Di Cintio, meeting new creators and reading their stories, and finding myself opened up to an entirely new literary world. Pay No Heed to the Rockets is a well written and fascinating book that looks at life in Palestine through Palestinian literature The author did a great job of discussing different types of literature, as well as a variety of authors whose perspectives on Palestine and what Palestinian literature looks like differ I like that he had sections dedicated to the West Bank, Gaza, and female writers in Gaza This is a must read for anyone interested in the Middle East and Palestine. Marcello Di Cintio begins his new book, Pay no heed to the rockets, with a poem and an image a girl in a green dress The poem is Apology to a Faraway Soldier by Mourid Barghouti, the eminent Palestinian poet and novelist born near Ramallah and officially stateless since 1967 For Barghouti, Writing is a displacement a displacement from the normal social contract a displacement from the common roads of love and enmity The poet strives to escape from the dominant, used language to a language that speaks for the first time If he succeeds in escaping and becomes free he becomes a stranger at the same time The poet is a stranger in the same degree as he is free Di Cintio takes us on a different path into a conflict that for many has become cloaked in years of violence, misinformation, propaganda, and deadening familiarity Places become their tragedies Marcello calls that the cruel accounting of death and despair The different path he chooses in this beautiful book is through the arts and that girl through the longing for beauty her image awoke in him, the desire to go beyond the cruel accounting and find the life and art that stubbornly refuses to be shaped only by conflict This is not to say that art is somehow immune of above the conflict In crushing detail Di Cintio describes an Israeli attack on an the Sakakini cultural and arts center in Ramallah Why destroy a center devoted to writing, concerts and the arts They wanted to give us a message that nobody is immune, the Paletninian poet Mahmoud Darwish said.Here is his beautiful description of the girl that starts the book, from a photo taken during Israel s Operation Protective Edge in 2014 The girl around ten years old wore a green dress and pink leggings, and her long hair was tied back in a neat ponytail She pulled books from beneath shattered concrete and cinderblocks and stacked them in her arms The books were tattered and filthy, their covers dangling from their bindings But in the last photograph, the girl walked away smiling Nothing is beautiful than a story, Marcello writes In this book he takes us on a familiar journey, yet makes it deeply, wonderfully unfamiliar, through his unflinching eye an eye that takes in the pathos and the suffering and the complexity as well as the exquisite persistence of life. Pay no heed to the rockets answers one question posed by the second generation of writers born under dominated territories whether there is a Palestinian branch of Literature Reinvention of previous symbols that radiated their meaning around the land, entailed a crucial questioning around identities.It is true that many of the poets and artists that M di Cintio interviewed were concious about the charged connotations of the space they inhabit and portray in their writing The essay succeeded to filter the writer s own angst as he shared this experience of displacement, upon crossing to Gaza through Erez Living under this scrutiny brought a diverse and kaleidoscopic view of their own land, reflecting on the roads and caravans, the rubble on the streets, crowded plazas, hotels, desserted border checkpoints, urban and rural areas, alike The beach of Gaza is a landscape where imagination permeates, as different from the guarded controls, since the ocean provides a rest area, an oasis for the writers imagination.There is a recurrent sentiment of exposure that many writers expressed as if they had been objectively represented in their political struggle by international press For this reason, they refused to enter in this dialogue and avoid to define their writing only from the conflict side Avoidance of definition from an aesthetic point of view is what keeps the writing and expressionist movement to represent their land of beauty and ugliness, of timely conflict and timeless void.PNHTTR portrayed everyday life outside literature and Palestinian voices as a means to beautify everyday life. Review originally appeared in BooklistOne of the great tragedies of Palestine is how little most outsiders know of everyday Palestinians Journalist DiCintio narrows this gap by recounting his nearly 20 years of visits to the West Bank and Gaza, weaving conversations around the writings of Palestine s many literary figures national poet Mahmoud Darwish, who once performed to a soccer stadium full of fans martyred revolutionary Ghassan Kanafani romantic novelist Gharib Asqalani Literature, history, and politics inevitably intertwine, as the pain and rage over lost villages and lost freedom inform everything from erotic poetry to a student literary salon In Maya Abu Alhayyat s children s story a boy prays in vain for his missing father, imprisoned in Israel, to return during the 2014 Israeli bombing of Gaza, Najlaa Ataallah imagines a wistful teen lover After surviving each aggression you always make a promise to yourself The promise that if you were to stay alive you will live and embrace life with joy than ever before You will tell the carefree girl in your neighborhoodthat you really admire herYou feel this love exploding inside you as did the explosions that took all the houses in the airstrikes P 220 A timely and exquisite book. Dry as dust This is a journalistic endeavor, the author having spent considerable time in occupied Palestine and this is his reporting, but instead of a ground view of the effects of the occupation on the whole of the population, he concentrates on a subset Palestinian writers and poets Some of the writers are in effect unpublished in the sense that there work appears on line only, so I would question whether they are in fact writers, and bloggers instead But reading about how the writers have writer s bloc, how they struggle to publish and or be read, seemed self absorbed and not very interesting Best parts were the portions about life in Gaza yes, it s awful, worse than I imagined and the effort to restore books to their Arab owners who were displaced from their homes, especially in the 1967 war Also, the parts dealing with women writers and the obstacles they face were also of interest One thing surprised me I would assume that a writer had a heightened consciousness about life in general, and was struck by the parochial view of the writers regarding the violence faced by both sides in the ongoing tragedy that is. Pay No Heed to the Rockets Palestine in the Present Tense is heavily researched and back with a lifetime of passion on the area and its people It reminds me of the Academy Award nominated documentary Five Broken Cameras in the lens through which it views Palestine What a way to access stories THROUGH storytellers It shouldn t seem revolutionary, but it is With Marcello Di Cintio s latest, we have a chance to turn down the din of rockets and listen to the poetic voices that make the ground, the land, the home of millions hum below feet of stomping soldiers. Even in the face of stifling oppression life must go on Whether it s a cultural struggle or a personal one, we can take notes from the Palestinians on what perseverance and resistance looks like in the face of formidable circumstances Living an extraordinary life through the exact undertaking of mundane tasks like making tea under the constant thread of missiles is a calling This calling is common to all of humanity however most of us are not aware of the missiles and miss the opportunity to enjoy our tea.I appreciated the unsensational nature of this book providing an honest perspective on the haunting nature of Israel s presence and the life that needs to be lived in that shadow.
- 272 pages
- Pay No Heed to the Rockets
- Marcello Di Cintio
- 22 July 2017 Marcello Di Cintio