The Arab Immigrants: A Special Issue
As 1986 is the Statue of Liberty’s 100th birthday, Aramco World magazine, like many other publications, decided, earlier this year, to mark the event with a special issue. But, while most other magazines focused on the Fourth of July celebrations in New York—marking the unveiling of the restored statute—Aramco World chose to publish its tribute to Liberty in its September—October issue—because the original statue was unveiled in October, 1886. And, because Aramco World is a publication specializing on Middle Eastern subjects, its editors decided to focus in their report on U.S. immigrants and their descendants from that area.
To interview and photograph Arab—Americans in every state in the union, Aramco World assigned a team who, among them, combined years of research on Arab—Americans in the United States and years of experience in the Middle East. Gregory Orfalea, author of Before the Flames: An Arab-American Search, conducted most of the interviews, while Middle East veterans Katrina Thomas and Burnett Moody, Aramco’s former chief photographer in Saudi Arabia, along with David Luttrell and Brian Clark, crisscrossed the country with their cameras. Libby Jackowski, a publication specialist at Aramco's Washington office, coordinated their work and wrote many of the interviews herself.
To research and write the Arab immigrant story, Aramco World magazine assigned Aileen Vincent-Barwood, a veteran Middle East reporter now living in the United States, while to illustrate it, Robert L. Norberg, of Aramco's Washington office, tapped the archives of the Smithsonian Institution. Meanwhile, in Europe, Joe Fitchett and Yann Layma covered Liberty celebrations in Paris, and Peter Keenan , the magazine's designer, visited Auguste Bartholdi's birthplace to gather additional material and illustrations for a story by Fred Allen tracing the sculptor’s inspiration for Liberty to the colossi of ancient Egypt. And, finally, Aramco World Editor Paul Hoye covered Liberty Weekend in New York from an especially appropriate vantage point, the deck of the Shabab Oman, which represented the Arab world in the dramatic sail-past Liberty on July 4. The Omani sailing ship had crossed the Atlantic to take part in the celebrations, and seeing the Statue of Liberty from her heaving deck, Hoye said he "relived the early immigrant experience." —The Editors