Feature

Syria: Mourning a great Syrian: Steve Jobs

Syria itself has taken pride in Jobs since 2007, when a local magazine published a list of famous people of Syrian descent, said Sami Moubayed at Asia Times.

Sami MoubayedAsia Times (Hong Kong)

Most people don’t think “Arab-American” when they think of Steve Jobs, said Sami Moubayed. But we Syrians claim the late Apple genius as one of our own. Jobs—“or, as many Syrians would love to call him, Steve Jandali”—was born to Joanne Schieble, a German-American woman, and Abdulfattah Jandali, a Syrian Muslim and “ardent Arab nationalist,” when the two were young grad students in Wisconsin. They gave the baby up for adoption. Jobs never had meaningful contact with his birth father, and Jandali recently said his “Syrian pride” prevented him from reaching out to his son, for fear of being seen as money-grubbing.

But Syria itself has taken pride in Jobs since 2007, when a local magazine published a list of famous people of Syrian descent, including singers Bob Marley and Paul Anka, as well as Jobs. Black-market Apple computers, iPads, and iPhones are popular among youths in Damascus, although U.S. sanctions prevent them from downloading any apps from iTunes. In the wake of Jobs’s death last week, Syrians used their Apple gear to tweet their respects to the great man, “sadly acknowledging, however, that had he worked in Syria, he would probably not have achieved any of his innovations.”

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