MARCELLO DI CINTIO is a Calgary based, Canadian writer who has lived in West Africa, North Africa, India and the Middle East. He is the author of two award-winning books: Harmattan: Wind Across West Africa and Poets and Pahlevans: A Journey Into the Heart of Iran.
The world's walls are supposed to be coming down. We speak of globalization, international markets and global villages; barriers to trade keep falling, and it is now possible to communicate instantly from nearly anywhere in the world. But just as these virtual walls come down, real walls rise. In this evocative blend of travel writing, history and politics, Marcello Di Cintio visits the world's most disputed edges to meet those who live alongside the razor wire, concrete and steel. Along the way he shares tea with refugees on the wrong side of Morocco's desert wall; he encounters illegal immigrants circumventing high-tech fencing around the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla; he walks Arizona's migrant trails, visits fenced-in villages in India, and stands with those who protest against Israel's security barrier to understand what these structures say about those who build them, and how they influence the cultures that they pen in. Venturing beyond politics, he encounters the infiltrators who circumvent the walls, the artists who transform them, and the fenced-in ignored and forgotten people who live in their shadow. The walls discussed are: 1. 'The Wall of Shame' in the Western Sahara, built by the Morrocans in 1987 following their defeat by the Spanish. 2. A high-tech 'fence' around the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Meilla. 3. The Indo Bangladesh 'fence', erected in 1947. 4. The West Bank Wall. 5. The 'green line' that separates the Greek from the Turkish-Cypriot quarters in Nicosia, the capital of Cypress, and Lefkosa, the capital of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. 6. The US-Mexico border. 7. The various barriers throughout Belfast. 8.The l'Acadie fence in Montreal, erected as a wall built of chains in 1960.
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, and about what it is like to write with only two hours of electricity each day. Stories from the Gallery Cafe, whose opening three thousand creative intellectuals gathered to celebrate; and the lost generations of stories contained within the looted books that sit in Israel's National Library. Pay No Heed to the Rockets offers a window into the literary heritage of Palestine that transcends the narrow language of conflict, revealing a humanity often unreported. Paying homage to the memory of literary giants like Mahmoud Darwish and Ghassan Kanafani and the contemporary authors whom they continue to inspire, this evocative, lyrical journey shares both the anguish and inspiration of Palestine today.
For political readers and anyone invested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Marcello Di Cintio's Song of the Caged Bird is a refreshing look at Palestinian resistance--through literature and the power of books.When Marcello Di Cintio began teaching at the Palestine Writing Workshop in Ramallah, he avoided making reference to the occupation in his assignments at first--to see if his students addressed it on their own--and he soon learned that it touches all aspects of Palestinian life. Curious how Palestinian literature could operate with its people so tied to a single narrative, Di Cintio began a journey through the Palestinian world of books: from the monument to the poet Mahmoud Darwish to the volumes in the Nablus Prisoners' library; from one of the West Bank's most successful bookshops to a century-old library in Jerusalem run by a family with a lineage in that city many centuries older. What he found is a world of identity and resistance that is considerably more complex--and potentially more hopeful--than what we see splashed across our screens.