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September 12 , 2010

Song of the Caged Bird

Words as Resistance in Palestine


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.

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