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Arabs on Titanic: Arabs share the ache however not the glory in ship’s tragic story | The Global Today

The story of the Titanic has by no means been totally informed. Among the many passengers have been a number of hundred Arabs from Center East nations together with Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. In James Cameron’s movie”Titanic,” he portrayed within the movie an Irish occasion however. the fact is that there was a Lebanese pre-marital celebration on the Titanic. Regardless of the presence of Arabs on the Titanic, they obtained just one point out with the phrase “Yalla” through the movie. No actual analysis moreover this compilation of knowledge has ever been written about them. (Initially revealed by Ray Hanania in 1998)

By Ray Hanania

The Global Today Arabs on Titanic: Arabs share the ache however not the glory in ship's tragic story | The Global Today
Ray Hanania

With only one phrase, “Yalla,” audiences all over the world watching the James Cameron Film Titanic in 1997-1998 obtained their first trace that aboard the ill-fated voyage of the Titanic have been passengers of Arab heritage.

Though the temporary phrases survived the editor’s lower, the three and one-half hour theatrical blockbuster film skipped previous the tragedy of its Arab passengers, whom witnesses mentioned had the liveliest haflis (events) and who celebrated three on-board weddings.

The Global Today Arabs on Titanic: Arabs share the ache however not the glory in ship's tragic story | The Global Today

All informed, there have been solely 706 survivors of the two,223 passengers and crew who sailed on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. There have been 79 passengers whose sur-names are of apparent Arab heritage. Additionally misplaced in what is without doubt one of the best tragedies of the twentieth Century was a priceless copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam which had been bought by a Jewish investor in New York Metropolis. The e book had 1,051 semi-precious stones set in 18-carat gold, 5,000 separate items of coloured leathers and 100 sq. ft of 22-carat gold leaf within the tooling.

Though one Arab survivor and a number of other different sources contend there have been greater than 165 Arabs on board, I searched and reviewed each title on the passenger, crew and enterprise concessionaire listing and solely might determine 79 names that have been clearly of Arab heritage or later recognized via different sources. Geller, in her marvelous account of the Titanic tragedy, Titanic: Girls and Youngsters First, writes there “formally have been 154 Syrians on board the Titanic, and 29 have been saved: 4 males, 5 youngsters and 20 girls.” She additionally cited newspaper accounts which counsel that the small Roman Orthodox Village of Kfar Mishki within the decrease Bekaa Valley of Japanese Lebanon was “devastated by the lack of no less than 13 of its inhabitants.”

RMS Titanic departing Southampton on April 10, 1912. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia and Francis Godolphin Osbourne Stuart -
RMS Titanic departing Southampton on April 10, 1912. Picture courtesy of Wikipedia and Francis Godolphin Osbourne Stuart –


All of the Arab passengers have been ticketed “Third Class,” besides 4 who traveled “Second Class,” distinctions that associated to lodging and the worth of the boarding go. Solely 38 Arabs survived. Rescued by the Carpathia, they lived to share their private tales of horror, having witnessed entire households drown because the ship slowly sank into the deep, darkish seas of the Atlantic Ocean. (The ocean’s title comes from an Arabic spinoff meaning “Darkish Sea” or “Sea of Darkness.”)


Like many occasions in historical past, Arabs expertise the ache, however obtain little glory.

Director James Cameron drew on the ethnicity of different passengers in making the 11 Academy Award successful film, together with a portrayal of a full of life Irish “hafli” and elements that includes characters of Swedish, Italian, Irish and English heritage.

It’s not straightforward to learn via the prolonged listing of passengers, not to mention decipher who’s or isn’t of Arab heritage. We are able to solely guess in some cases, and my intuition tells me the quantity, 79, is barely low. A number of the Arab Survivors, although, have been quoted extensively in native newspaper articles, often throughout remembrances of the catastrophe. The tales of some others are included in revealed works.

Titanic sailed from Southampton, England on April 10, 1912. The most important ship ever constructed, it made stops at Cherbourg, France, the place a number of the Arab passengers boarded, and Queenstown, Eire, earlier than heading out to the excessive seas and its supposed vacation spot, New York Metropolis.

There weren’t sufficient life boats to hold all of the passengers to security. These within the Third Class galleys, within the decrease decks, discovered themselves forged apart by a frantic ship’s crew determined to escort the First Class passengers to security.

The obstacles that divided the Third Class passengers from the remainder of the ship have been damaged solely after the passengers realized that the ship was sinking.

Two hours and forty minutes after the Titanic struck the iceberg, the ship disappeared into the ocean, spilling survivors overboard who couldn’t match into lifeboats, leaving them to splash futilely within the sub-zero waters.

Most of those that died, together with 41 Arab passengers, died due to the arctic-like chilly waters, not due to drowning. Among the many survivors was the ship’s dad or mum firm consultant, Joseph Bruce Ismay, who survived to testify earlier than prolonged US Senate Hearings a number of days later in New York Metropolis. His cowardice, taking a seat on a lifeboat earlier than different passengers, was effectively documented.

Not informed at these hearings have been the remorseful tales of tragedy that accompanied the Arab passengers, a few of whom departed on the voyage with visions of recent futures in new worlds. We all know of their tales thanks largely to folks like Philip Hind and Michael A. Findlay, who authored an informative memorial to the Titanic that’s on the World Large Internet. Findlay wrote the introduction to Geller’s e book.

Listed below are a number of the temporary tales and profiles, adopted by an entire listing of the Arab passengers I used to be in a position to determine based mostly on sur-names who survived and who perished on April 12, 1912.

Miss Banoura Ayoub (Listed typically as Ayout Banoura):

A younger baby in her early teenagers, Ayoub traveled from Lebanon to Detroit, Michigan the place she was to be re-united along with her household. She traveled along with her cousins, Shawnee George Wahbee, Thomas Tannous, Gerious Youseff and Tannous Doharr, who have been to proceed via Detroit to Youngstown, Ohio, the place at this time a big Arab American neighborhood thrives.

Shawnee (profiled under) and Ayoub survived. All three males, touring to search out jobs on the metal mills in Youngstown, died. Banoura Ayoub finally moved to Windsor, Ontario, Canada, one other heart of Arab development.

Thomas Tannous is reportedly associated to the household of Danny Thomas (Jacobs).

Mrs. George Joseph Whabee, generally known as Shawnee Abi Saab:

The higher recognized of the Arabs who traveled on the Titanic was born in Thoum, Lebanon on Palm Sunday, 1874. (In Arabic, the title Shawnee means Palm Sunday). She was the youngest of seven youngsters, the daughter of Thomas George Abi-Saab and Katoole Deeb Abi-Saab. She married George Joseph Wahbee and got here to America in 1906, hoping to make sufficient cash to return to Lebanon and purchase land for her household. However, when her husband died in 1908, she remained in Youngstown, Ohio, the place she raised her youngsters, Joseph, Thomas, Albert, Rose and Mary, who had stayed behind in Lebanon.

Round 1910, her son Thomas grew to become significantly in poor health. Docs informed her to ship him again to Lebanon the place the contemporary mountain air was anticipated to assist nurse him again to good well being. She later discovered that her son’s sickness had worsened, and, fearing his demise, she returned to Lebanon, arriving 10 days after he had died. She had left her daughters, Rose and Mary, within the care of the Christ Mission Society.

It was in April 1912 that Shawnee traveled to Cherbourg, France the place she bought her ticket (#2688) aboard the Titanic. It value her 4 kilos 4 shillings. She boarded with three different cousins, named above.

A survivor, she witnessed the sinking of the ship, and noticed her male cousins stay on-board. Members of the crew, utilizing weapons, fired into the air to forestall a number of the males from speeding the few lifeboats. She sat with different passengers within the life boat, dressed solely in a nightgown and life-jacket, shivering within the chilly. A number of passengers within the boat died from the chilly through the six hour wait.

A part of her story was informed to the Sharon Herald on April 14, 1937, commemorating the sinking 25 years later:

“Banoura and I have been positioned into the following to the final lifeboat to be lowered from the ship. A scared younger man leaped over the aspect of the liner and landed within the backside of the lifeboat. Girls shielded him with their evening robes so the sailors wouldn’t see him. They’d have shot him,” she recalled. “After being pulled a few half-mile away, the sailors stopped rowing. We watched the lights of the large boat with our hearts in our throats. Then we noticed it sink.”

Shawnee was cared for by the Hebrew Sheltering Society when she arrived in New York. She later boarded a prepare for Youngstown after being paid $150 by the Titanic firm for her misplaced belongings.

Witnesses and kinfolk reported that when she left for Lebanon to see her dying son, her hair was jet black. A yr after the Titanic tragedy, her hair was fully white.

Gerious Youseff:

From Lebanon, touring with the passengers named above, died, though his physique was later recovered within the aftermath of the Titanic sinking (Physique label #312). He was buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, in Halifax, N.S., on Could 10, 1912.

The story of Catherine, Michael and Mary Peter (Joseph):

Peter and Catherine Joseph had immigrated to Detroit, Michigan after the flip of the Century from Lebanon. Peter had begun usually pushing a peddlar’s cart, gathering scrap iron and junk. The Joseph’s had two youngsters, Michael and Mary. In 1911, Peter Joseph despatched his spouse and two youngsters again to Lebanon for a go to, probably to allow them to escape from the hardships of their wrestle in America. They returned on the Titanic, touring by freighter from Beirut to Marseilles after which on to Cherbourg the place they boarded the ship with different Lebanese voyagers. She listed herself, in line with Geller, by her husband’s title, Peter, fairly than by her actual sur-name, Joseph, as a result of it was customized.

The Story of Nicola Yarred, and Jamila and Elias Nicola (Yarred):

Initially from Hakoor, Lebanon, a moutain village, Jamilia Yarred, her father Nicola, and her youthful brother Elias, have been fleeing persecution once they started their journey to board the Titanic and to reunite with kinfolk that had settled in Jacksonville, Florida. They made the 130 km journey from their village to Beirut and boarded the boat to Marseilles. Nicola Yarred, the daddy, was prevented from boarding as a result of he had a watch an infection. Tight restrictions on ailments at Ellis Island in New York pressured the Titanic transport line to imagine the price of returning any passenger turned away there, so he couldn’t board. The youngsters registered, once more as was customized on the time, by assuming their father’s title, Nicola, as their final title, they usually boarded with what little cash their father had left and his blessings for a secure journey.

Because the story goes, the 2 youngsters have been fleeing the rising waters of the sinking ship, shivering within the chilly as they tried to board one of many few lifeboats. John Jacob Astor, who had simply put his personal spouse on a ship and was making ready to die onboard the Titanic, noticed the kids within the crowd and lifted them one by one to assist place them within the life boat.

Nicola, shocked by the ordeal, rejoiced that his youngsters had survived and he joined them three months later in the USA. The Yarreds modified their title, in line with Geller, to Garretts. Jamilia grew to become Amelia and Elias grew to become Louis. Amelia later married Isaac Isaac, a grocer, 4 years later.

The Story of Celiney Alexander Yasbeck:

Celiney Alexander Yasbeck and her husband Antoni Fraza Yasbeck had been married only some weeks earlier than. They traveled with Celiney’s youthful sister, Amenia Alexander Moubarek and her two youngsters George and William. A Hanna Moubarek can be listed and we assume he was Amenia’s husband.

Celiney was separated from her husband through the commotion, and Antoni Fraza Yasbeck is listed as a kind of who died, together with Hanna Moubarek. Celiney, her sister and her sister’s two youngsters survived.

Little else is thought concerning the lives of the opposite Arabs who perished on that dreadful night. Not all the names of the Arab passengers have been ever totally recognized.

Think about: The occasion of a pair’s demise on board the Titanic held nice significance in tragedy in 1912 and all through the years that adopted.

Every couple that died ended a lifeline of future generations which may have averaged six youngsters. In three generations, the descendents might have elevated to an prolonged household of 268 folks. These unborn folks, so to talk, additionally died on the evening of April 12, 1912.

What follows is the listing of Arab sur-named passengers, based mostly on frequent recognition, of the 79 who have been reportedly amongst 165 Arabs whose tragedies are part of the immortal story of the sinking of the Titanic. (Survivors are recognized following their itemizing with an “S”.) However we all know that there have been greater than 160 Arabs however not all could possibly be recognized simply.

Second Class Passengers

Marie Thuillard Jerwan (S)
Adele Nasrallah Nasser (S)

Nicholas Nasrallah Nasser

Ellen Toomey (S)

Third Class Passengers

Ali Ahmed

Gerios Assaf Mariana Assaf (S)

Solomon Attalah Banoura Ayoub (S)

Akar Boulos (S)

Joseph Sultana Boulos (S)

Joseph Kareem Caram

Nassef Belmenly Cassem (S)

Elias Dibo

Elias Elias

Joseph Elias

M. Houssein Hassan

Saad Khalil Neshan Krekorian

Len Lam Fahim Leeni (S)

Hanna Mansour

Hanna Moubarek (S)

George Moubarek (S)

Maria Nackid (S)

Mary Mowad Nackid (S)

Mustafa Nasr Saade Jean Nassr

Elias Nicola (Yarred) (S)

Catherine Peter (Joseph) (S)

Razi Raibid Khalil Saad (S)

Hanna Samaan Yousef Samaan

Thomas Tannous

Assad Alexander Thomas (Toumas)(S)

John Thomas (Toumas)

Assad Torfa

George Touma (S)

Anna Sofia Turja (S)

Celiney Alexander Yasbeck (S)

Tamini Zabour

William Ali

Ali Assam Makala Attalah

Tannous Betros (S)

Hanna Boulos (S)

Laura Boulos (S)

Maria Elias Kareem Caram

Emir Farres Chebab (S)

Tannous Doharr

John Elias

Shawnee George Joseph Whabee (S)

Betros Khalil Zahie Khalil

Sarkis Lahowd Ali Lam (S)

Hanna Mamee (S)

Fatima Masselmany (S)

Amenia Moubarek (S)

William George Moubarek (S)

Stated Nackid (S)

Toufik Nahill Adele Kiamie Najib (S)

Jamilia Nicola (Yarred) (S)

Mary Peter (Joseph) (S)

Michael Peter (Joseph) (S)

Amin Saad Elias Samaan

Arsun Sirayanian

Thelma Thomas (Toumas) (S)

Charles Thomas (Toumas)

John Thomas (Toumas) Jr.

Anna Razi Touma (S)

Hannah Touma (S)

Yousif Wazli Antoni Yasbeck

Gerious Youseff

Hileni Zabour

(Ray Hanania is a Palestinian Arab American writer and journalist. A superb supply for a number of the above info is listed at Philip Hind’s Internet Website at:


Dec. 19, 2009

Expensive Sir,
Thanks in your efforts concerning Arab passengers on Titanic, I used to be informed by my grandmother that her brother Ibrahim Amin Al-Sabbagh, fFrom south of Lebanon (Bint Jubail) died on the titanic, whereas she was touring to Michigan. However his title shouldn’t be listed with the others arab passengers listing.
That is in your info

Kamal Eter

March 6, 2005
Expensive Sir,

My grandmother was Adele Nassar, Titanic survivor. She later remarried Albert Shamaley and certainly one of their 4 children is my mom. My son is researching the Titanic for college, and I had virtually forgotten the story of my grandmother. She would by no means talk about the occasion or give interviews. as she was nonetheless filled with grief from dropping a husband and later their first baby. I need to thanks in your article and giving new perspective on Arabs on the Titanic.

Lisa Adele

==== ====== ====

July 2008

I used to be in a position to determine 110 on the listing of third class passengers.

E. Rouhana
============ ======

Could 24, 2009

Mr. Hanania:
Re: In Search of Nice Nice Uncle’s title

I used to be informed by my Aunt Helen that her nice uncle died on the Titanic. Aunt Helen informed me that her Grandmother, Etta Brown’s (Etta Brohein, from Lebanon) misplaced her brother on the Titanic. Etta Brown (unknown maiden title) was from Batron, Lebanon.

I’d assume that Etta Brown’s brother was in rout to Dallas, Texas, to affix her. Nonetheless; I don’t recognized this for certain. Etta Brown’s brother spoke no English, and was beginning out his new life contemporary for the primary time in America. I used to be informed that Etta Brown’s brother died on the Titanic (third Class Passanger).

Mr. Hanania, I’m half Lebanese, and a really proud Texan. I’ve been employed for Dallas County as a Deputy Sheriff for the previous 20 years. Nonetheless; it might be an honor to hint down and discover the title of my nice nice uncle that perished on the Titanic.

Thanks ever a lot in your help.

Respectfully submitted,

Don George

(Ray Hanania is a Palestinian-American writer. Attain him by e-mail at [email protected]. He’s the winner of the Society of Skilled Journalists Lisagor Award for Column Writing. His columns are archived at

Extra feedback from kinfolk of Titanic passengers and those that knew them. These got here from:

Hanna Mamee, a survivor, lived in Philadelphia, Pa., married a Lebanese lady and opened a bar only a stone’s throw from St. Maron Church. He named the bar, “Titanic”. Such a becoming title!! In later years, he moved to Washington, D.C.

The opposite man generally known as Tannous Betros was in all probability from the Kaawi household as he was travelling with my great-grandfather on the journey to New York.
With out additional analysis, the names at the moment have been generally known as their given title and their father’s title. Authentic passenger listing reveals Sarkis Lahoud and omits the Ishaq Moawad household title. Similar is probably true for the passenger Tannous Betros.

My mom’s paternal grandfather was Sarkis Lahoud Ishaq Mouawad. My mom and her brothers gave certainly one of your sources all of the details about their grandfather. He left a widow, Jamila Macary, 4 youngsters Wadad, Lahoud, Boutros, Mantoura, 1 brother Mehrez and a couple of sisters, Marsha and Labibe. Mr & Mrs Nackid and their toddler daughter settled in Waterbury, Connecticut however their toddler daughter was the primary survivor of the Titanic to die and she or he is interred in Waterbury.

Electronic mail RayHanania at [email protected] when you have questions or tales of your ancestry to share concerning the Titanic.

(Ray Hanania is an award successful former Chicago Metropolis Corridor reporter. A political analyst and CEO of City Methods Group, Hanania’s opinion columns on mainstream points are revealed within the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. His Center East columns are revealed within the Arab News. For extra info on Ray Hanania go to or electronic mail him at [email protected].)


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The Global Today Arabs on Titanic: Arabs share the ache however not the glory in ship's tragic story | The Global Today

The Global Today Arabs on Titanic: Arabs share the ache however not the glory in ship's tragic story | The Global Today

The Global Today Arabs on Titanic: Arabs share the ache however not the glory in ship's tragic story | The Global Today

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