As the world raged and recoiled at a photograph of a drowned Syrian toddler this week, a tech pioneer connected some dots in a simple, powerful tweet that was soon widely shared.
One of the men who most dramatically impacted human civilization in the last decade was the son of a Syrian who migrated to the U.S. in 1954. The Apple founder’s biological father left Syria for the United States in the 1950s. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. His name was Steve Jobs.
Jobs’s biological father, Abdulfattah ‘John’ Jandali (b. 1931), was born into a Muslim household and grew up in Homs, Syria. Jandali is the son of a self-made millionaire who did not go to college and a mother who was a traditional housewife. While an undergraduate at the American University of Beirut, he was a student activist and spent time in jail for his political activities.
Jobs was born on 24 February 1955 in San Francisco, California, to students Abdulfattah Jandali and Joanne Schieble who were unmarried at the time and gave him up for adoption. He was taken in by a working class couple, Paul and Clara Jobs, and grew up with them in Mountain View, California.
He attended Homestead High School in Cupertino California and went to Reed College in Portland Oregon in 1972 but dropped out after only one semester, staying on to “drop in” on courses that interested him.
Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976 to sell Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer. The duo gained fame and wealth a year later for the Apple II, one of the first highly successful mass-produced personal computers.
In 2003, Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and underwent surgery in 2004. Despite the success of this operation he became increasingly ill and received a liver transplant in 2009. He returned to work after a six month break but eventually resigned his position in August 2011 after another period of medical leave which began in January 2011. He died on 5 October 2011.