Banksy’s new street art reminds us that Steve Jobs was “the son of a migrant from Syria”

By on December 11, 2015

British street artist Banksy’s latest work appeared in a migrant camp on Friday, on the wall of a makeshift camp in Calais known as “The Jungle,” reminding the entire world that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’s father was a Syrian migrant.

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Banksy said in a statement: “We’re often led to believe migration is a drain on the country’s resources, but Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian migrant. Apple is the world’s most profitable company, it pays over $7 billion a year in taxes – and it only exists because they allowed in a young man from Homs.”

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The Jungle refugee camp, Calais

The work new depicts an adult Jobs with a traveling sack over his shoulder, wearing his iconic blue jeans, black turtleneck, and carrying an early Apple computer.

The makeshift town is located on what used to be a rubbish tip on the outskirts of the French port and is currently home to more than 7,000 migrants, coming from war-torn Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and Eritrea, all of them hoping to make their way to the United Kingdom.

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Surrounding the art are the very same kinds of tents used by the many thousands who have been thousands that have been camped there for months, in increasingly bad weather conditions.

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Banksy also posted photos of his work to his website, with a caption: “The son of a migrant from Syria.” It also says “Happy New Year,” and further along the wall to the right of Jobs is written “Nobody deserves to live this way.”

In a statement released by Banksy in September, he said that all the timber and fixtures from Dismaland were going to be dismantled and shipped from Somerset across the Channel to the jungle refugee camp near Calais, to create emergency shelters, community buildings and play areas for those in need.

The statement included a picture of the Calais camp superimposed with Dismaland’s fire-ravaged fairtytale Cinderella Castle. Over two days, an unidentified group of people were building shelters in the camp, and just before dark on Thursday, a sign was erected over the buildings that says “Dismal Aid.”

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(photo: Verify Media)

While in Calais, Banksy also painted images following the migrant theme on other walls, including a riff on “Raft of the Medusa” by Theodore Gericault with its luxury yacht.

You can read more about Dismaland here, and here.

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In this clip we’ve included above, from celebrated biographer Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs, Isaacson tells us the story that Jobs did not want to meet his biological father, Abdulfattah Jandali, a Muslim man who Jobs felt had abandoned his biological mother, Joanne Carole Schiebl, who had given birth to the boy who became Steve Jobs on February 24, 1955.

Schieble — who Jobs did reconnect with, and he also reconnected with a sister — had gone to live in San Francisco, where she felt she could safely have the child out of wedlock and put it up for adoption.

Amazingly, Isaacson says that Jobs discovered that he had actually met his father once, purely by accident, when he stopped into a popular restaurant that unbeknownst to him at the time was run by his biological father, the restaurant’s manager.

“I shook his hand and he shook my hand and that’s all,” Isaacson said that Jobs told him, and according to the New York Times, Jobs and his biological father never spoke again, but Jandali later recalled that he did not himself know that he’d met his own son until 2006.

He did say, however, that Jobs was a “great tipper.”

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.