Steve Jobs said Apple was influenced by Dieter Rams design for Braun

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Steve Jobs is a biological Arab-American with roots in Syria

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Steve Jobs, arguably the most influential CEO in the world, is the biological son of an Arab American who was born in Homs, Syria, and studied at the American University of Beirut.


With accolades that include CEO of the decade and person of the year, Steve Jobs is routinely voted one of the most influential and powerful people in the world. He catapulted Apple to the world’s leading technology company through the iPod revolution and innovations that followed such as the iPhone and the iPad. The creative mind of Steve Jobs is often chronicled, including his life story as the adopted child of a modest American family.


What most fail to realize is that his living biological father is of Syrian origin. Abdul Fattah “John” Jandali emigrated to the United States in the early 1950s to pursue his university studies. Most media outlets have published little about Jandali, other than to say he was an outstanding professor of political science, that he married his girlfriend (Steve’s mother) and by whom he also had a daughter, and that he slipped from view following his separation from his wife.

An American historian, however, has now stirred controversy over the role of genes and their superiority over nurture in the case of Steve Jobs, by describing Jandali in a detailed critical article published briefly on the Internet before it was suddenly removed, as “the father of invention”, given that Jandali’s daughter Mona (Simpson) – Steve’s sister – is also one of the most famous contemporary American novelists and a professor at University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA).

The 79-year-old Jandali has deliberately kept his distance from the media.What is known about him lacks detail, a

nd is both one-sided and a source of curiosity at the same time. Here is his story as Jandali himself told it to Al-Hayat.

Jandali in Syria

Abdul Fattah Jandali was born in 1931 to a traditional family in Homs, Syria. His father did not reach university, but was a self-made millionaire who owned “several entire villages”, according to his son. His father held complete authority over his children, authority not shared by his traditional and “obedient” wife.

“My father was a self-made millionaire who owned extensive areas of land which included entire villages,” Jandali said. “He had a strong personality and, in contrast to other parents in our country, my father did not reveal his feelings towards us, but I knew that he loved me because he loved his children and wanted them to get the best university education possible to live a life of better opportunities than he had, because he didn’t have an education. My mother was a traditional Muslim woman who took care of the house and me and my four sisters, but she was conservative, obedient, and a housewife. She didn’t have as important a part in our upbringing and education as my father. Women from my generation had a secondary role in the family structure, and the male was in control.”

The American University

Jandali did not stay long in Syria. “I left for Beirut when I was 18 to study at the American University, and I spent the best years of my life there,” he said.

He was a pan-Arabism activist, and his star soon began to shine. He headed an intellectual and literary society which had a nationalist bent and counted among its members symbols of the Arab nationalists’ movements such as George Habash, Constantine Zareeq, Shafiq Al-Hout and others.

“I was an activist in the student nationalist movement at that time,” he said. “We demonstrated for the independence of Algeria and spent three days in prison. I wasn’t a member of any particular party but I was a supporter of Arab unity and Arab independence. The three and a half years I spent at the American University in Beirut were the best day

s of my life. The university campus was fantastic and I made lots of friends, some of whom I am still in contact with. I had excellent professors, and it’s where I first got interested in law and political science.”

The university’s Campus Gate magazine published in its 2007 spring issue an article by Tousef Shabal in which he says: “The Al-Urwa Al-Wuthqa Association was founded in 1918 and dedicated to cultural and political activities. Between 1951 and 1954 the society was headed by Abdul Fattah Jandali, the now deceased Eli Bouri, Thabit Mahayni and Maurice Tabari. The decision to disband the society was taken after the events of March 1954…” a reference to the violent demonstrations that took place on the university campus against the Baghdad Pact.

According to Shabal, the society consisted of “diverse political groups such as Arab nationalists and communists, and competition for the managing positions was red hot, but in the end went in favor of the Arab nationalists.”

When Jandali graduated from the American University in Beirut, Syria was going through troubled political and

economic times, according to Jandali, and although he wanted to study law at Damascus University and become a lawyer, his father did not agree, saying that there were “too many lawyers in Syria”.

He continued: “Then I decided to continue my higher studies in economy and political sciences at the United States where a relative of mine, Najm Al-Deen Al-Rifa’i, was working as a delegate of Syria to the United Nations in New York. I studied for a year at Columbia University and then went to Wisconsin University where I obtained grants that enabled me to earn my master’s and doctorate. I was interested in studying the philosophy of law and analysis of law and political sciences, and I focused in my studies at the American University on international law and the economy.”

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Buying a MacBook Pro in Kuwait

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Macs are the fab are the best, no doubt, but the prices here in Kuwait are astounding. I called up Mac City (Tel: 24911112), went through their EPBAX and finally reached their shuwaikh showroom.  I wanted the 13″ macbook pro.  It was a 590/= with 2.66 GHz, 4GB RAM, 320 GB HDD, LED Screen. Great!

I asked the showroom, sales guy, if I am expanding the memory to 8 gb, additional 4Gb how much would it cost? he says, 240 KD/=


Sales: yes 240 KD

Me: Okay, if I want instead of the existing 320 GB, 500 Gb what would it cost

Sales: additonal 140 KD

Me: I dont want the 320 GB, would it still cost me additional 140KD

Sales: I don’t know, ask the workshop.

Is not the workshop meant to service/repair the systems, and showroom people to give away their prices?