Next Arab American on a stamp could be Steve Jobs
By Ray Hanania
The Washington Post is reporting that the US Postal Service’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee has included Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Computer Inc. and developer of the iPod, iPad and iPhone, among a list of Americans whose profiles are likely to be printed on future issues of postage stamps next year.
Jobs, who is Arab of Syrian heritage, would become the third (or fourth) American of Arab heritage whose picture would adorn a postage stamp issuance. Past stamp honorees include Chicago Bears owner George Halas (1997), who many claim as having Arab heritage, and openly acknowledged Arabs including American diplomat Philip Habib (2006) and television actor and founder of St. Judes Children’s Hospital Danny Thomas.
Ironically, American Arabs have been pushing for the issuance of a stamp to honor American Arab poet and author Khalil Gibran, but the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee has never given the Gibran stamp proposal formal recognition.
According to published reports, other Americans of notoriety are also slated to be profiled on a postage stamp in 2015 including pop icons Michael Jackson, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix, along with talk show hosts Johnny Carson, actor Charlton Heston, Basketball star Wilt Chamberlain and Gay Rights activists and slain San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Harvey Milk.
Jobs was put up for adoption when he was born on February 24, 1955 by his biological parents. His father was Abdulfattah “John” Jandali and his mother is Joanne Carole Schieble. Jandali, a Syrian American teacher, met Schieble, a Swiss American student, at the University of Wisconsin.
Jandali claimed he and Schiebel had no choice but to put the new born baby up for adoption because Schiebel’s parents objected to their relationship.
Many believed anti-Arab racism was the cause of the problem. Jandali was Muslim and Schieble was Christian.
Jobs, who was born in San Francisco, was adopted Paul Reinhold Jobs and Clara Jobs, who was Armenian American.
The story about Jobs being included on the 2015 postage stamp list was leaked by the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee this week apparently to coincide with the 59th anniversary of Jobs birth. The issuance of the stamp is expected to coincide with the 60th anniversary of his birth, next year.
For a list of names of individuals now on Postage Stamps, click here.
For a partial, incomplete list of famous American Arabs, click here.
The US Postal Service claims that it has a responsibility to portray the American experience to a world audience through postage stamps and postal stationary.
Many of those who appear on stamps are nominated by the American public, although the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee has rejected calls for the Gibran Stamp.
The Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee consists of 11 members, none of which are American Arab. One of the members is the vice president of the Hearst Corporation which in 2010 forced the resignation of veteran journalist and White House Correspondent Helen Thomas after an anti-Arab activist distorted and twisted comments she made in response to a question about Israel and Palestine.
Former President George W. Bush pushed for the issuance of the Muslim “Eid el Fitr” (High Holidays) Stamp to honor Muslims and to add to the postal recognition of the Jewish and Christian religious holidays of Hanukkah and Christmas.
The Committee members are:
Partner, Anderson Newton Design; instructor, School of Visual Arts; author.
Former Postmaster General, postal history stamp collector.
Associate director, Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.
B. J. Bueno
Founder, The Cult Branding Company; partner, Nonbox Consulting.
Donna de Varona
TV sports commentator, Olympic swimming champion, select Director of the Board, U.S. Soccer Foundation.
Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research, Harvard University.
Janet Klug, Chair
Philatelist, author, retired.
Antiques and collectibles appraiser, author, collector, columnist, educator, and lecturer, host of WHATCHA GOT?
Founder, The Brand Extension Agency.
Vice president and chief communications officer, Hearst Corporation, co-founder, UNICEF Snowflake Ball.
Katherine C. Tobin, Ph.D.
Former Governor, U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors.
Stamp proposals are to be submitted in writing to the following address:
Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee
c/o Stamp Development
U.S. Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300
Washington, DC 20260-3501
The campaign to have Gibran honored with a stamp has met the same resistance that other efforts to recognize the achievements of American Areas have met with in the past.
In Chicago, for example, the Mayor’s Office has rejected repeated efforts to rename streets in honor of American Arabs, even though street renaming ordinances for others, including Israeli leaders, have been passed routinely.
Gibran was born in Lebanon and died in 1931. His inspirational collection of 26 fictional prose poetry essays, “The Prophet,” became a best seller that continues in popularity today. The Prophet was published in 1923 and has sold more than 100 million copies and has been translated into 40 languages.
Whether it is three or four Arabs on postage stamps (the debate continues if Halas does or doesn’t have some Arab blood in his heritage), the issue is clear that American Arabs have been skipped over for far too long by the U.S. Postal Service, and that should change.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter (1976-1992) and is managing editor of The Arab Daily News, www.TheArabDailyNews.com.)
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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