Steve Jobs an American Visionary with Arab Roots

Category: Americas, Life & Society Topics: Fathers Views: 17781
17781

Abdul Fattah Jandali, a young Syrian Muslim immigrant in Wisconsin, never met his son Steve Jobs. When a baby was born to the 23-year-old Jandali -- now known as John -- and his 23-year-old German-American girlfriend, Joanne Schieble, in 1955, there was no chance he'd be able to grow up with his biological parents. 

Joanne, who belonged to a white, conservative Christian family could not convince her parents to marry an Arab, a Muslim, according to Jandali, who called her father "a tyrant" in a New York Post interview in August 2011. In fact, according to Jandali, she secreted off from Wisconsin to liberal San Francisco to sort out the birth and adoption without letting either him or her parents know. 

And so it was that a nameless Arab American baby was adopted by an Armenian American family. Clara Hagopian and her husband Paul Jobs had been married around seven years and had not been able to conceive. The little bundle that would be Steve, was very much wanted in the Jobs household. 

Steve Paul Jobs, as they named him, grew up without ever knowing his biological father. It seems he had no interest in knowing him later in life, either. When, in August 2011, the London tabloid The Sun, contacted Jandali, he publicly reached out to Steve saying, "I live in hope that before it is too late he will reach out to me. Even to have just one coffee with him just once would make me a very happy man."

If you would like to share your thoughts, memories, and condolences, please email rememberingsteve @ apple.com

But Steve never replied. Less than two months later, he has passed away. 

Jandali says it was his "Syrian pride" that kept him from reaching out to his famous son. In a September 2011 interview with the Reno Gazette -- Reno, Nevada being the city the 80-year-old Jandali lives and where, having never retired, he is the Vice President of a casino. "The Syrian pride in me does not want him ever to think I am after his fortune. I am not. I have my own money. What I don't have is my son...and that saddens me."

One wonders what Jobs knew of his background.

His biological father was no ordinary Syrian. According to an interview he gave to the Al Hayat newspaper in February 2011, he was born in French-mandated Syria in 1931 in the town of Homs to a "self-made millionaire" father with no university education who owned "several entire villages" and a homemaker, traditional mother. He was one of five children - the only son of a family with 4 daughters. 

He left Syria at 18 to study at the American University in Beirut, where he was "a pan-Arab activist", a "supporter of Arab unity and Arab independence" who organized with some of the most famous activists of his time. After university, he moved to the United States, and the rest is history, though he regrets leaving his homeland. 

"If I had the chance to go back in time, I wouldn't leave Syria or Lebanon at all. I would stay in my home country my whole life. I don't say that out of emotion but out of common sense," he told Al Hayat. "Of course I miss the social life and wonderful food [in Syria], but the most important thing is the outstanding cultural attributes which in general you don't find in the West," says the non-practicing Muslim, who nonetheless "believe[s] in Islam in doctrine and culture." 

His nostalgia aside, millions worldwide would no doubt disagree with Jandali. Surely a Steve Jobs of Apple Computers could only have been possible in America. 

The estrangement of a father and son is made even more tragic by the fact that not only did each know of the other, but they shared more than a father-son biological connection. Jandali and Schieble eventually did marry -- just ten months after she gave their baby boy away to adoption, and just a few months after Joanne's father died. And they had another child -- a daughter with whom Steve eventually had a relationship. Mona Jandali -- now Simpson -- is a world renowned author who was, in her own words, "very close" to her brother Steve once they established a relationship as adults. 

According to Jandali, he had no idea until just a few years ago that the baby his then-girlfriend secretly gave birth to in San Francisco was the man the world knew as Steve Jobs. But Steve must have known for decades, through his relationship with Mona. 

In the August New York Post interview, Jandali tried to let his son know that he didn't know of Joanne's San Francisco plans. That he was saddened when he learned of it. "I honestly do not know to this day if Steve is aware of the fact that had it been my choice, I would have loved to have kept him," he said. 

And unless Jobs's upcoming November authorized biography addresses the issue, Jandali may never know. Instead, with news of Jobs's death, Jandali has refused any further interviews about his long lost son and will always wonder what could have been. In that, he will not be alone.

Follow Shirin Sadeghi on Twitter: @ShirinSadeghi

Source: New America Media


  Category: Americas, Life & Society
  Topics: Fathers
Views: 17781

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Older Comments:
ISMAILA ADEMOLA FROM NIGERIA said:
Allah SWA knows the way he does is things in HIS MAjesty. Temember prophet Sulaimon was born through Huraiya's wife and produced prophet Sulaimon
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LUBNAQ QURESHI FROM USA said:
It is not a matter of pride at all that Steve Jobs had Arab roots. It is a matter of concern that the Arab or the Muslim Youth enter into relationships that are clearly considered as forbidden by their religion and end up in siuations, exactly for which pre/extra marital relationship is considered absolutely forbidden.
May Allah SWT protect our youth from this predicament
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FAIROZ FROM SAUDI ARABIA said:
It saddens to read the importance given to the story whether he was Syrian or American Or born to a name sake Muslim or so & so on and it further saddens to know that such a brilliant man died without knowing the real creator. In the whole event its evident that the religious guide lines are always for the benefit of mankind not otherwise.
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LAURA FROM US said:
Thanks for an articel written from an intersting different perspective than the US mainstream media.
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SHARIFAH FROM USA said:
I am an African American Muslim woman, as such, I also have Canadian Indian in me, probably white and surely some African. I know the plantation my paternal grandfather's people came from.
I am raising three children that I did not birth. I have to adopt two or they will go to strangers.They are African American & Puerto Rican. Nature is as strong as nurture, It took me a long time to realize that you can not totally change personality just as you can not totally change physical characteristics.

I thank Allah(swt)aka God, Jehovah, Yahweh, and any other name unknown to me for sending his child, STEVE JOBS to the WORLD. He was a consumate, revolutionary, extremely intelligent man. He was a genius.

The Quran says ALLAH makes muslims, people don't make muslims.

I love you STEVE JOBS, I love you President BARACK OBAMA. I love my christian pastor Rev.JEREMIAH WRIGHT JR.

I love my christian family & friends. I love my muslim family & friends. I love my Yogi brother & his friends.I love my jewish supervisor. Everything is not about religion. It is about treating people the way God told us to treat them.

I am sure Steve Jobs biological family missed having a relationship with him. I know his Armenian family loved him.

BELIEVE THAT ONE DAY YOU WILL ALL SEE EACH OTHER IN PEACE.
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NABILA FROM USA said:
Yes he is a muslum you like it or not enough about islamphobia, a shame on his mom who lied about everything and she did not do the right thing for his son. The bottom line poor steve.
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NABILA FROM USA said:
His father is an muslim, so you like it or not steve jobs is muslim, you should blame his mother who did not do the right thing for her son.
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MAXIMA FROM U.S.A said:

There are some Muslim who come to America only for the dunia, and that seam to have been the case of Steve JObs Father,"John." His father did marry his mother when later on in life. They had a daughter together who apparently grew up without being a Muslim.
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ALI MOHAMMED FROM USA said:
Why does it bother people that he has Arab roots. hmm..if he had Irish roots, boy you would care. Steve Jobs is an Arab because his father is Arab. Like it or not,keep living in your ignorance and evasive dreams. Yes, I am proud to be an Arab and loving it! People hating my race makes me an interesting guy doesn't it? You make me laugh... I love it!
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IMANE FROM CANADA said:
It seems a blessing that he didn't know his father. Allah had already planned his Destiny.
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ANDY FROM CANADA said:
There is nothing Arab about him... He is American born and raised. It does not matter where is ancestry comes from and lets face it he has a Syrian father and a German mother... By your reasoning we could call him German also.
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KOVITZ FROM CANADA said:
Here you go!
Obama's father was a Muslim, now, also Steve Jobs!!!
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MUSLIM FROM UK said:
It IS relevant that his life story is well-known as it raises some interesting points for us to ponder upon.

The first is his ethnic ancestry. We have understand that this IS being politicised in the West & negatively so. So in order to try & maintain balance, positive examples of those with Arab/Muslim heritage should take place. The anti-Semitic Anti-Arab/Muslim media love to pose the narrative that this group are a threat, parasitic & contribute nothing positive to humanity/wider society. Barak Obama is of similar partial heritage, but it has been easier to cast him as an evil politician & Trojan Horse. The downplaying of Job's heritage is pertinent in this context e.g. CNN.

Another point is that Arab racial ancestry does not mean genetic defectiveness i.e. lepers discouraging intermarriage with others.

Another point is that it IS possible for Arabs/Muslims to contribute positively to society, so why isn't that the general perception? Is it that this group really are genetic defects? What is about current Arab & Muslim culture (NOT religion) that we cannot produce him, but working class Americans can? My view is that Islam encourages empiricism & R&D, however current culture inhibits creativity & innovation due to the parent culture. In patronage-reliant dictatorships one does not rock the boat of Pharoahnic hierarchy.
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KAM FROM CANADA said:
Is Steve Job a descendent of Syria or a pride of Syria?
It is funny how Syrians have a claim on him! It is always known observation that " success has many fathers wheras failure is an orphan.."
It is true here too.
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ABDULLAHI SAIDU FROM NIGERIA said:
These revelation is a reminder to Muslims world over to uphold high standard of moral values as taught by the Holy Quran and Hadith in all aspect of human endevour. All what steve job was known for was as a result of the fullfillment of Allah's promise in the Holy Quran.
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ANEESA FROM SOUTH AFRICA said:
The fact that Job's father calls himself John says alot. Who cares if Steven Jobs was part Arab?
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