Steve Jobs Was Half Arabic

The Internet is all aflutter with anticipation over the new Steve Jobs biography coming out on Monday. Excerpts have been released and the biographer is going to appear on 60 minutes on Sunday. Most of what’s been revealed so far is the kind of stuff you’d expect: that his hippie sensibilities made him seek alternative cancer treatment before resorting to surgery, and that he was really really mad at Google for trying to copy the iPhone. And then there’s the tid-bit about how him and his biological father met, without either of them actually knowing about it.

Steve Jobs' biological father, Abdulfattah Jandali

Steve Jobs was put up for adoption by his biological parents, because his German mother’s parents objected to her relationship with his father, a Syrian graduate student named Abdulfattah Jandali. This was back in 1954, and the German grandfather died ten months later; Steve’s parents got married shortly thereafter and had another kid name Mona in 1957, then divorced in 1962. In the 1980s, Steve Jobs tracked down his biological mother, Joanna, who had remarried and taken her new husband’s last name, and then met his sister Mona Simpson, a successful novelist. They kept their relationships a secret until 1986, when all three showed up to a party promoting Mona’s newest book. In an interesting turn of events, Mona later married one of the writers of The Simpsons, who named Homer’s mother Mona, after his wife.

Steve Jobs' biological sister, Mona Simpson


Homer Simpson's parents, Abe and Mona


At first, Jobs tried to also meet his father; but after learning about the man, he decided he didn’t like what he learned. Since he abandoned both him and his sister, you can’t really blame him. (Although in 1978, ironically, Jobs himself abandoned his illegitimate daughter for two years, claiming she wasn’t his because he was supposedly sterile.)  But in a giant coincidence, the biological father at one point ran a Mediterranean restaurant in Silicon Valley, one at which Jobs ate. In fact, before knowing that Steve Jobs was his son, the father bragged to the sister, Mona, that Steve Jobs ate there and was a big tipper.

The strangest thing to think about though, is that if Jobs would’ve never been put up for adoption — besides the fact that he might not have founded Apple — his name would’ve been Steve Jandali.

From Hi-Tech Analogy and NPR


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