Written by Rima Youssef
Translated by Assaad Maalouf
When history speaks, the present listens. One who doesn't have roots has no present, as memories are THE key to the future. And history did not fail to underline beautiful words about Douma (Batroun Caza) that resides on a low mountainous shoulder surrounded by summits and valleys. Houses topped by beautiful pyramids and an archaeological souk full of memories.
Rising at 1100 m above sea level altitude, Douma is a storage of history and the birth of civilizations in accordance to studies carried out by the municipality over one year and a half ago. To define the importance of the village, its municipality conducted numerous researches on its history starting from the Ottoman period to the contemporary one, and so it reached to conclude a big conference "Douma in History" under the patronage of Culture Minister Raymond Araiji on Friday and Saturday, August 19-20, 2016.
The National News Agency met with deputy President of Douma Municipality, Dr. Asad Issa, the coordinator of the project of archiving Douma's history. He said: "The idea came across the municipality's mind from researchers and doctors until we met one year and a half ago Dr. Issam Khalifeh and agreed with him to hold in Douma a history conference, and we started working effectively on it a year ago."
He added, "We formed a scientific committee headed by Dr. Issam Khalifeh that included researchers from Douma and other Lebanese countries. The committee is responsible for all subjects relevant to researching. We formed in the municipality a follow-up committee under my own chairmanship that includes all writers, doctors, chairmen of associations and others. We also coordinated with the scientific committee and we started gathering documents about the village to organize them and preserve them. I stress that we should gather as many documents as possible so as to preserve them from dryness and insects."
Dr. Issa explained that the collected documents included interior ones relevant to Douma citizens, like bills and papers related to the famous Douma commercial souk. He went on to say that the "Mutasarrifiyya" felt obliged to establish a municipality in 1880 to organize the trade move in the souk.
Issa referred to a second type of document related to a notebook for the notary public, in addition to official state statistic papers and a copybook for Daoud Basha (1867) that enlists in details the properties of each citizen from Douma, the lands of apples, olive and raspberry. He also referred to documents received from universities, embassies, researchers and monasteries, indicating that the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) has helped in this regard by sending a lot of pictures and statistics from the years 1514, 1545 and 1570.
He said, "These documents were the essential ground upon which we put the final program for the conference, yet our main aim is not the conference, but to set up a wide archive to launch Douma in History encyclopedia composed of 2500 paper."
Dr. Issam Khalifeh, responsible for the scientific committee for the conference, explained his project of writing about the history of Lebanese villages by studying the economic, educational, scientific, cultural and geographical situations of the village. He said that a conference was set in this regard for Lehfed and Bsheleh villages and Douma's archiving project came in this context.