A talk in Birzeit University Museum on Lydda Refugees and Commercial Industrial History before the Nakba
Ramallah – 27 October 2018:
In collaboration with the A. M. Qattan Foundation, the Birzeit University Museum hosted a talk, titled Lydda Refugees and Commercial Industrial History before the Nakba. Naser Rumanneh, Chairman of the Al-Lod National Society, talked about the past and present struggles of the Lydda residents and refugees, pre-Nakba industrial and commercial history, evolution of agriculture, investment of economic expertise, and preservation of business and commercial heritage following displacement of the Lydda community.
The talk was organised in the context of Cities Exhibition 6, Lydda – A Garden Disremembered, part of Qalandiya International 2018.
Rumanneh began his talk by providing an overview of the Lydda residents’ struggle against the British Mandate, insisting on existence and preparing rebels. Of these, As’ad al-Tartir was a wanted rebel at the time. He passed away in 2003.
Lydda was occupied two months after the Nakba. It was because of the fierce resistance by the city.
Rumanneh addressed the nature of relationship between Christians and Muslims in Lydda. Both communities have managed to create a model of social cohesion. On Fridays, public spaces are allocated to Muslims so that they can observe their religious rites. On Sundays, these public spaces are reserved for Christians. In this context, Rumanneh indicated that the logo of the Al-Lod National Society is blazoned with images of a mosque and a church.
In Lydda, the elderly have distinguished themselves through their daily encounters, which used to bring them together. Although they were uneducated, these elderly were intellectuals thanks to these encounters. They were also renowned for their commitment to their traditional costumes, namely, the Qumbaz [male robe] and white Keffiyeh for men, and Milayeh [full-body garment] for women.
In relation to the commercial and industrial activities in Lydda, Rumanneh explained that the Lyddans are famous for being commercially shrewd. They enjoy an advanced level of commercial smartness. Lyddans differ from others by working for far more hours, consequently increasing their sales. In addition, Lyddans have long-standing experience in commerce. They constantly look for all new products. We should not overlook Lydda’s large markets and agricultural products exported abroad. Also, Lydda is mainly famous for olive and citrus cultivation.
The demographic distribution of the Lydda population includes 36,000 Lyddans in the Ramallah and El Bireh governorate and 240,000 others in Jordan.