Obit: American Arab journalism, history titan Joseph Haiek dies
Joseph Haiek was a journalism and history titan in the American Arab community who spent his life documenting the story of the Arab community in this country. It was a huge task considering that many of the pages were blank and that so few Arabs in America took the time to share their stories. Haiek passed away on Jan. 25, 2018 after a long illness.
By Ray Hanania
Joseph R. Haiek, 85, a titan in the Arab American community who spent his life documenting the achievements of our community in this country, died on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, according to his family.
Haiek was at the end of a three week visit to Egypt, where he was invited to be honored for his lifetime achievements by the Association of Egyptian American Scholars (AEAS). The award was presented in Cairo on Dec. 27 during their 44th Annual Conference.
Haiek was instrumental in launching one of the first Arab journalism associations in Glendale Heights, California and in publishing the essential guide to Arabs in America, the Arab American Almanac and founder of the News Circle Publishing House, which also for many years published the magazine “The News Circle.”
As a young journalist, I remember reading Haiek’s thick News Circle magazine, one of only a few publications in English that detailed news, events and features on Arabs in America. The other was published by M.T. Mehdi of New York City, the must-read Action newspaper, for many years in the 1960s and 1970s.
Arab American Historian Joseph R. Haiek was selected as a 2011 recipient of Ellis Island Medal of Honor in New York. The medal is designed to pay homage to the immigrant experience, as well as for individual achievement. Haiek is the first Palestinian-American to receive the medal by the Ellis Island NECO – National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations
Haiek’s official Biography:
Joseph R. Haiek is the Founder of The News Circle Publishing House in Los Angeles, in 1972, publisher of the Arab-American Affairs Magazine, the Arab American Almanac series (6 Editions since 1974), Mideast Business Guide, reference book in 1980, the Mideast Business Exchange Magazine, from 1977 to 1983; these are in addition to the production of other books by independent authors. Produced over 100 TV episodes of 30 minutes each of community affairs and events (non-Arab) which were broadcasted on Cable TV in Los Angeles County for the general American public.
He is also Founder of the Arab American Historical Foundation in Los Angeles 1978, established an Arab American research library and a unique historical collection of Arab American books, publications, photos, videos and documents, including a set of microfilm of The News Circle Magazine published since 1972. Also founder and first president of the Arab American Press Guild in Los Angeles, 1985. Joseph preserves and celebrates the history, traditions, and values of his ancestry group by historically recording events for the past 40 years since 1972 on the Arab American community in the United States. His publications, historical, journalistic, and photographic efforts and contributions have resulted in the publications of the following which have been distributed to mainstream America and the world, in public libraries, universities, and book stores.
Haiek was the publisher/historian of the Arab American Almanac, 6th Edition, 608 pages, the most comprehensive reference book on the Arab American Community. He has published 6 Editions since 1974. This book includes the following chapters: Arab American History in the U.S. since 1600s, Arab Contributions to World Civilization, the Kahlil Gibran Literary Group early 1900s here in New York; the Arts, Music, Fashion, Poetry and Theater groups and individuals who have contributed to mainstream America; 85 Arab American Organizations (non-political); Religious Institutions of Christian Arab Americans and Muslim Arab Americans; includes a chapter on 55 Publications, television and radio programs; a chapter on Who’s Who Among Arab Americans, in each edition he has written and recorded thousands of VIPs who have contributed in a large way to the community; a chapter on profiles of Arab World and the U.S.A.; a chapter of Arab American Achievements and Contributions; a chapter on Arabic language; Bibliography; Addresses; Websites and over 550 photos (which most were taken by Joseph throughout the 40 years of journalism he has and is still doing). Multiple copies of the Arab American Almanac in order to distribute to your local universities and libraries, can be ordered thru his website via PayPal www.ArabAmericanHistory.org.
There are about 3.5 million Arab Americans residing in major American cities among them are thousands of Arab American scholars/professors who teach in major American universities, scientists and businessmen. This is just part of the reference data found in the Arab American Almanac, 6th Edition. It also includes Arab Americans who have served as Americans in the armed forces in all major wars since World War I and II, Korean, Vietnam, Iraq wars, including Lt. General John Abizaid and Gen. George Joulwan. Also includes government officials of Arab Americans who are members of Congress. It does not include any advertising.
The first edition of the Arab American Almanac series was published in Los Angeles in 1974 by Joseph R. Haiek, also publisher of The News circle Publishing House since 1972, publishers of the Arab American Affairs Magazine, Arab American Historian electronic newsletter and other reference books. Please note one of his websites regarding historical referencing: www.ArabAmericanHistory.org There are several thumbnails on the home page of the ArabAmericanHistory.org website which gives 1st few pages examples of several chapters (608 pages) of the Arab American Almanac and the Arab American Historian Newsletter. Multiple copies of the Arab American Almanac in order to distribute to your local universities and libraries, can be ordered thru his website via PayPal www.ArabAmericanHistory.org.
The purpose of the Arab American Almanac is to broaden the reach and availability of pertinent, accurate and practical reference sources about Arab Americans, while acknowledging their heritage and perpetuating their culture, history and society. There is no other book like this in the world. It is worth noting, that the word “Almanac” is an Arabic word, meaning weather or state of condition.
Joseph R. Haiek wrote in detailing the need for the Arab American Almanac:
“We must wholeheartedly acknowledge our historical heritage and cultural identity before we can expect others to respect and recognize our contributions and participation in mainstream America.
“There is a large void in the preservation of Arab American history and it is our hope that this Arab American Almanac will help increase the interest and study of conservation and dissemination of Arab American accomplishments and contributions to assist historians, scholars, researchers, the press and the public at large. The history of Arab Americans is largely an unacknowledged aspect of this nation’s cultural identity and it is our task to weave it into the American cultural tapestry.
“We invite members of the Arab American community to include the history of their organizations, family and special events in the next edition of this Almanac, in the Arab American Historian newsletter and to be posted on the website of the Arab American Historical Foundation. To order copies of this Arab American Almanac, for your library, scholars, university and friends, mail your request to: The Arab American Historical Foundation, P.O.Box 291159, Los Angeles, CA 90029, USA, or e-mail: email@example.com, phone 818-507-0333. To get the latest news and updates on Arab American history conferences and other related forums, visit: www.arabamericanhistory.org.”
Haiek’s daughter Caterina Haiek published the following announcement on Facebook:
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our father Joseph Rizek Haiek this morning, January 25, 2018, at 10am in Cairo, Egypt. Rest In Peace Dad. We love you and are going to miss you very much. You’re now reunited with Mom in heaven and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! We were honored to have you as our father and grandfather of your 7 grandchildren: a peaceful, intelligent, humble, loving man full of integrity.
Our father unfortunately developed pneumonia during the last several days of our 3 week trip to Egypt (one of his dreams fulfilled), as I took him there to celebrate his 85th birthday on December 28 and to receive a prestigious award by the Association of Egyptian American Scholars (AEAS) on December 27th during their 44th Annual Conference (full post on his timeline Dec 28).
Funeral arrangements will be held in Los Angeles within the next 2 weeks once he is transported back from Cairo. He has devoted over 45 years publishing and recording history on behalf of the Arab American community, more on his website www.ArabAmericanHistory.org
You can read the profile interview the Arab Daily News did with Joseph Haiek back in 2014 by clicking here.
Joseph Haiek is a titan in the Arab American community. His presence and activism and writings that documented the history and achievements of Arab Americans will be greatly missed.
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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).
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