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Denied potential
Winning a Nobel prize is the last thing on mind of a person whose country has been attacked and exploited, either ideologically or physically, by internal and external forces for centuries



Dokhtar Shirazi
September 12, 2006

In response to Vessal-Shirazi's "How did Jews do it?", I have to say that quite simply, you cannot compare apples with oranges! Any qualitative or quantitative comparison has to be made in its appropriate context or else it is bound to fall short of achieving the very purpose that it was created for and as such, I found your comparison to be at the very best naïve, superficial and one-sided.

Surely, based on the statistics that you have provided the Jewish population have made higher academic achievements than Muslims, but if one closely examines the data, one would realize that most of the achievements have been made after World War II, when most of the Jewish population had migrated to America, Australia or western European countries and as such have had the opportunity to flourish their talents and abilities in peaceful and “democratic” countries, free from conflict, poverty and other impediments that prevent a person, being a Jew, Christian or Muslim, from fully realizing their true potentials.

That does not mean Muslims are less capable and/or have a genetically predisposition gene for being violent. Contrary to the Jewish population, most Muslims do not live in peaceful countries, as they have live in extreme poverty and other horrific situations which leave little or no room for flourishing one’s true potentials, let alone winning a Nobel prize!

This, of course, by no means justifies and/or excuses Muslims from not doing anything to improve their conditions. Undoubtedly Muslims could and should learn a lesson or two from Jews, namely internal solidarity and economic empowerment. But doing so requires a moment of peace and this, unfortunately, is a luxury that most Muslims have not had the opportunity to experience.

A political and historical analysis of Muslim nations would reveal that historically most Muslim countries either though existence of internal enemies –namely having dictator and totalitarian regimes ruling their everyday lives- or external enemies - namely foreign exploitation and colonialism- have had little chance to flourish their talents.

Further, you mentioned earlier, the Muslims constitute 20% of the world’s population, as opposed to Jews who only contribute 0.02%. Just because there are more Muslims than Jews, it does not mean that they should have more Nobel winners! Winning a Nobel prize is the last thing on mind of a person whose country has been attacked and exploited, either ideologically or physically, by internal and external forces for centuries.

The right to self-determination and autonomy is a very basic Human Rights, which most Muslims do not enjoy. Most Muslim nations, for the reasons mentioned above are not powerful economic players in the global market, they do not have the world’s biggest share of GDP, they do not control media ownership and most importantly they do not have highly “sophisticated” and “presentable” spoke-people articulately defending them in front of cameras to provoke sympathy. Hence they resort to “yelling and chanting in streets” as you have mentioned – but it is the only way that they can project their voice and be heard. Powerless and desperate people, resort to powerless and desperate means.   

At the end of the day, we are all, regardless of our religions, humans, and not members of different species. Surely, everyone loves to live in a peaceful county where they can fully realize their true potentials and win as many Nobel prizes as possible, but the reality is that most people do not enjoy such luxuries and until they can acquire that, they will and should do all they can to achieve autonomy, peace, respect and equality in a global scale. I am certain, that everyone else would have done the same, if placed in a similar condition, regardless of their religion and faith. Comment


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