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Who is Steve Jobs’ Syrian immigrant father, Abdul Fattah Jandali?

Simon Jary | Dec. 14, 2015
Syrian migrant crisis puts spotlight on Steve Jobs’ roots

Protests from 1952-54 forced him to flee Beirut. The protests demanded the resignation of then Lebanese president, Bechara El Khoury, who later became the first Arab president to step down under the pressure of popular demonstrations in the streets.

Unlike many of the Syrian migrants now fleeing to Europe Jandali moved to New York, where he lived with a relative, Najm Eddin al-Rifai, who was the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations.

Jandali studied at Colombia University and Wisconsin University where he received a scholarship that enabled him to obtain a Ph.D. in Economics and Political Sciences.

While studying in Wisconsin Jandali met and dated a German-Swiss Catholic called Joanne Carol Schieble, who was soon pregnant with his child.

Her conservative Catholic father refused to allow her to marry Jandali because he was a Muslim.

Jandali then left Schieble not long before the baby's birth on 24 February 1955.

Steve Jobs' adoptive parents

The newborn boy was put up for adoption in San Francisco, with the stipulation that the adoptive parents be Catholic and college educated.

The first-choice parents (Catholic, educated and wealthy) suddenly decided they wanted a girl.

So it was that another couple, Paul and Clara Jobs, adopted the boy.

Schieble nearly refused this later adoption because the Jobs weren't college educated.

Luckily for us Paul Jobs passed on to Steve his love of mechanics, which led to Steve's friendship with Steve Wozniak and the eventual founding of Apple Computer.

There is another refugee link in that Clara's parents had landed in New Jersey after fleeing the Turks in Armenia.

"Knowing I was adopted may have made me feel more independent, but I have never felt abandoned," said Steve Jobs.

"I've always felt special. My parents made me feel special."

He hated it when anyone referred to Paul and Clara Jobs as his "adoptive" parents or implied that they were not his "real" parents: "They were my parents 1,000%," he said.

Of his biological parents, Jandali and Schieble, he was dismissive: "They were my sperm and egg bank. That's not harsh, it's just the way it was, a sperm bank thing, nothing more."

Not long after the adoption Jandali reunited with Schieble, and the couple were married. A year later they had a daughter, Mona - who went on to become a successful American novelist. Jobs didn't meet the then Mona Simpson until he was 27 years old.

But Jandali was soon again on the move. Following financial problems he returned to Syria, hoping to land a job in the diplomatic corps.

But a life as a diplomat was not to be, and he instead worked for a year as a director in an oil refinery back in Homs. While in Syria he divorced Schieble. 
In 1962, Jandali returned to the US, but did not contact Joanne, who had remarried an American.

 

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