Confusing candidates and countries

In many ways, particularly in the media’s coverage, this year’s selection has been marked by nationalistic fervor to a degree which even the candidates have tried to dissuade. One candidate has personally communicated with apologetic concern that some commenters on this site have made this race about “…national aspirations. I don’t encourage this kind of thinking.”

Ayca Ariyoruk, who has interviewed almost all of the candidates, has noted how this is impacting the race. 

“Another matter that should be revised is the habit of linking the candidates to their nationality. It diverts the attention from the candidates and their qualities to national politics. …Thus, when interviewing the candidates, the challenge was to keep the focus on their qualities rather than on the political standing of their countries.  

Chapter 15 has an insightful summation of this and its implications for those candidates – all well-intentioned and conscientious individuals – who do not prevail at year’s end and for their countries.

“One of the things that has been striking to us throughout this race is the level of national pride and identity associated with the candidates in this race. The South Korean, Indian, and Sri Lankan press, especially, has fallen in love with the candidates. And, to a substantial extent, their publics have also. The low esteem that the Thai government is in with both its public and its media explains Sathirathai’s support.

“Unfortunately, this close identification with candidates has resulted in publics’ mood following the fortunes of the candidates. For Dhanapala and the Sri Lankans, this is quite serious. The country is at a very serious point, with the peace process — Dhanapala’s peace process — collapsing. The mood of Sri Lankans that we encounter has been deeply impacted by this.

“Furthermore, it is important for the publics to realize that this is not an indictment of their countries. If Shashi Tharoor loses, as it seems he will, this is not an indictment of India. Indeed, the question of whether Singh’s nomination of Tharoor is a blunder will likely be revisited. For the Sri Lankans, they need to understand that Dhanapala’s failings are not their own. They nominated an old man who did not impress people. This is not a statement about Sri Lanka.”

A sad truth, and well said.

3 Responses to “Confusing candidates and countries”

  1. Dr.Yashanvitha says:

    Nationalistic fervor. Yes,absolutely true.From the day one, medias,including unsg.org has made fuss about the candidates associating with the nations, for which commenters, here in this site are compelled to defend the dignity of their Nations.

    This nationalistic fervor is arising not bcos of national aspirations of any individuals. But bcos of the candidates’ personal aspirations of seeking their nominations through their nations.If they had sent their applications for the job of unsg,without the intervention of their Nations, then the issues of national identity, national aspirations wouldn’t have arised.

    Blunders like regional rotation, religion priorities, gender biased selections in the media are giving scope for such fervors in this race.

    After all, public’s thinking do not depend on the the candidate’s vote of encouragement & discouragement.

    So, no candidates, truly need to seek apologies. It is the reflection of their humbleness, if they have expressed such gestures.

    Media should seek the apology.

  2. Tony Fleming says:

    Dr. Yashanvitha –

    I was shocked to read your post regarding nationalist fervor. Whereas you accuse UNSG.org of making a fuss about the candidates’ nationality, it was in fact yourself and others who prompted a candidate to comment on the fervor and for this site to step in and attempt some moderation over such nationalist comments when they became disruptive to the discussion.

    Regarding your concerns about regional rotation and other criteria used in the selection (concerns which I in fact share!), there is a process in place. That includes at present a “tradition” of regional rotation to approach some regional balance in leadership positions at the UN. Candidates entered the race, respecting this process and the institution. Dismissing this process out of hand is anarchic and neglects an inclusive invitation to all to participate in reforms which many feel are necessary.

    But what is more interesting in your comment here, is the hypocritical appeal that the process should detach itself of nationalism, given the nationalism that characterized almost every one of your earlier comments.

  3. Dr.Yashanvitha says:

    Dear Tony Fleming
    Iam not accusing you & your unsg.org.Infact you are doing a great job by providing the stage for the discussion.Unless there were provocative,stimulating expressions on national fervor in this site or in any medias, readers’ responses wouldn’t have contained any nationalistic fervor.There were so many statements which were truly offending to the dignity of the Nations such as the statement in the article -An August Lull,which you yourself have mentioned as ‘sour grapes perhaps’.You could have edited such derogatory offending statements on the Nations from the news papers.No,you only edited the defending statements. Another example is,as if you have every right to offend the decision of Dr. Manmohan Singh’s(PM of India) as ‘blunder’ & I do not have any right to defend it.Blunders are infact in the UN policy & process.If the process cannot detach itself from the Nationalism, then these issues of national fervor,national identity, national aspirations ect are all the byproducts of the process.You may avoid my defeding statements at your unsg.org, but you cannot avoid the reactions from the common people around the world. After all, Nations & their govt are by their people, to their people & for their people.So no one can avoid it.Otherwise, Iam not a person who limit my identity to any one geographical areas or religions,but, I cannot encourage the offending statements on any Nations, which degrade it’s dignity,specially emphasising on Mother India, who is not just a Nation, but the Holy Mother who has renounced her aspirations & has almost taken the mantle of saint to radiate love & peace.Many saints have transformed themselves as mountains & rivers,meditating for the welfare of the whole world.I strongly declare that everybody’s blood is red,so let us not shed it in the name of unsg selection process.I look forward for more refined & reformed UNO.

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