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Marcello Di Cintio Speaks About Palestine in the Present Tense

Marcello Di Cintio describes his talk this way: The only story most outsiders ever hear about Palestine is one related to enduring conflict. The character of the Palestinian is either a furious young man with a keffiyeh wrapped around his head slinging stones at Israeli soldiers, or a woman in hijab wailing in front of her destroyed home. The Palestinian as militant or victim. Over the course of many trips to the region, I’d long wanted to write a different story about the Palestinians – something outside the narrative of anger and loss. I decided if I wanted to hear new stories about Palestine, I should seek out the storytellers themselves. So for my book Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in the Present Tense, I sought out the storytellers themselves: the poets and authors of Palestine. I figured these writers would have different stories to tell. My discussions with Palestine’s writers inevitably led to politics, to be sure, but at least I began from a different starting point. Instead of asking a woman about the Israeli checkpoints, say, I asked about the first poem she wrote. Instead of asking a man about his grandfather’s lost olive groves, I asked about his grandfather’s library. These coffeehouse conversations revealed the regular lives of Palestinians. These are the stories I share in my book, and the stories I will share with CALL.

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