Sunday, January 24, 2010

election myths - 'sinhala' votes will split, 'tamil' votes will decide

as soon as sarath fonseka announced he was running against mahinda rajapaksa for presidency, some people started claiming that 'sinhala' votes will be split down the middle between them and the candidate who gets the 'tamil' vote will be the winner. they are still repeating it.

we will examine this claim closely, and show it to be a result of pure imagination with no basis in reality; a myth. in fact a racist myth.

before examining it, we have to see who is making this claim, for our greater understanding.

if you look closely, you will see that it originates from unp/sf propagandists, ngo peaceniks, and/or ltte terrorist supporters (some ppl are all three at once). they have an interest in making this claim bc it is one of the methods by which they try to create the impression that the election is competitive, when in fact it was clear from the start that mr is going to win by a big margin. iow, this falls in to same category as the manipulated self created election projections and and fake polls going round. no surprise then that in the sl blogosphere it is indi.padashow (owner of and padashow blogs, sunday leader columnist, son of a former political appointee, and person who ran unp's online campaign in 2005, etc.) and ppl of same ilk who are spreading this lie.

this is also repeated by some foreign reporters. reporters with a sloppy substandard work ethic prefer to confine their sources of information to cocooned pseudo elite class in sri lanka (sort of ppl who think in english and believe that makes them 'better' than other sri lankans). some of these reporters and their employers have tamil diaspora in west as a market for their content. given that racist ltte supporters are driving the conversation among diaspora the content providers catering for that market develop a bias for same attitudes. we saw that during military operations, we see that today. unquestioning acceptance and spreading of this myth by these media outlets is another good example of this bias.

corrupt ngo bigwigs like chris patten of international crisis group, frustrated that their support for our murderers did not bear fruit, will repeat it as a matter of course.

now if this is a myth, they will have egg on their faces on 27th. not that such shameless ppl will care.

same ppl, ltte supporters, peaceniks, unp leadership and propagandists, same foreign reporters and media outlets, and moronic bigwigs at international organizations (and of course sl bloggers who take their lead from those groups) got it wrong before (predicting ltte terrorists will not be defeated).

now as then, accepting racist myths as real will lead to same results.

now we will examine the claim in detail.

the claim betray the tendency see and interpret everything is sri lanka primarily and simply on ethnic terms, when reality sri lanka is more complex. as such i call it racist. above mentioned groups always commit this error.

let me be clear, mere categorization of voters as 'tamil', 'sinhala', 'muslim' etc, for analysis does not make it racist.

however assuming that vast majority of voters of a particular ethnic group make decisions based primary in their 'race' interests is racist. yes some ethnic groups in world history may have behaved like that, but it is rare, very. so before assuming any such thing the one who makes it must show the evidence of such a thing happening.

'sinhala' votes will split claim
cliam: 'sinhala' votes will split bc 'sinhalese' wanted the tamil tiger ltte terrorists defeated. as such when two 'war heroes' are contesting sinhalese will split their votes more or less evenly.

equivalent of a 'wtf!' would be the reaction of most sri lankans to this absurd logic.

i will break this claim down further into implicit/explicit sub claims.

claim: 'only 'sinhala' ppl wanted terrorists defeated'.

of course not.

everyone who respects life, human rights, freedom, justice, and democracy, wanted them defeated. anyone who really loves sri lanka wanted them defeated. and such ppl were certainly not confined to sinhalese.

claim: 'sinhalese' wanted ltte defeated bc it was an ethnic conflict between sinhala military and tamil ltte.

again no .

majority of sinhalese did not want ltte terrorists defeated bc of racist motives. sinhalese just like the rest of sri lankans wanted the murderers defeated to prevent them from killing, maiming, threatening, and oppressing, sri lankans (including themselves). they wanted a peaceful united sri lanka.

to equate ltte with tamils is simply racist.

vast majority of sinhalese, like most sri lankans, simply did not appreciate being terrorized and blackmailed into making concessions to an armed criminal gang, for decades.

claim: each candidate's responsibility/credit for the victory over terrorists will be the primary motivating factor for 'sinhalese' vote.

now if we replace word 'sinhalese' with more accurate (due to reasons explained above ) 'all sri lankans who value victory over terrorists' to get rid of racism, we get a modified claim

modified claim: each candidate's responsibility/credit for the victory over terrorists will be the primary motivating factor for all sri lankans who value victory over terrorists'

still wrong.

it is true that if one of them has been a person who has not contributed anything or even been a hindrance to defeating terrorists (ie ranil wickremesinghe) that factor would have played a major part in decision of the voter not to vote for him. basically anyone who was a peacenik and was weak in face of terrorist murderers is not acceptable to sri lankans.

but that does not mean, without such a contrast, sri lankans who wanted ltte defeated will split their votes more or less equally between candidates who did make a contribution.

far from it.

they will look at other factors and other issues. they will look at each candidate's polices, and their supporters (and why such support is extended). they will look at their personalities. they will observe what they say and how they behave. they will evaluate the propaganda of campaigns. voters will also take in to account traditional patronage relationships and loyalties.

individual voters will weigh all these factors according to their selfish interests and then decide (in most cases this will happen subconsciously). that is how voters in all democracies behave. and that is how it will happen here.

to disregard all this, and predict the voting decision, based solely on a decision about who gets credit for defeating terrorists, is foolish.

related to this, to claim that if both candidates contributed similarly to war effort, they will get more or less equal vote shares is also false and foolish.

btw voter are knowledgeable enough to know that one had greater responsibility by definition. (but as i said credit for war victory alone will not be the main motivating factor)

now for the other main part of the claim.

claim: 'tamil' votes will decide

no they won't

for anyone to claim that tamils (meaning sri lankan tamils) are a uniform group having common interests that will swing vast majority of them to one or other candidates is unrealistic. certainly racists ideologues of terrorist ltte claimed they did have such interests. they also claimed to be the sole representative of tamils and their interests. but they had to enforce that false claim by killing other tamils (with different ideas) by the thousands. that claim has no more validity than claims of hitler about germans .

tamils, like other sri lankans described above, will consider many factors before voting.

of course their experience of terrorist oppression and military operations to defeat terrorists was more personal than most sri lankans'. some were victims of military due to accidents or due to ltte using them as human shields. some may have been willing or unwilling collaborators of ltte's fascist regime. some may have had ltte cadres in family. so there maybe tamils who are less appreciative of efforts to defeat terrorists and feel an antipathy towards those who led that effort. but is that common to all tamils? no. even with those who feel that way, will the reactions at elections due to these factors be uniform? again no.

tamil voters' decision, again as with others described above, will depend on various factors, personality of the each individual voter, and their experiences . it is foolish to generalize theirs reactions.

after removing racist prejudices about ethnic groups we can state the original claim differently.

modified claim: votes of those who appreciate the victory over terrorists will split due to both candidates being war heroes, as such those who did not appreciate it will decide the elections.

while not offensive bc it is not racist, even this modified claim is still wrong and even absurd.

it assumes that those who appreciate the victory will split (more or less evenly), while those who do not appreciate it will not split.

that is irrational.

in fact, due to ppl weighing lots factors as described above, both groups will split. imo they will split unevenly. in fact any public indication that one group is trending one way will most likely create an opposite trend in other group.

iow, the claim is a myth. on all levels.

some speculations based on what we examined

now imo most of those other factors that voter will weigh will favor mahinda rajapaksa. that was obvious from provincial polls last year when his party got close to 70% votes. nothing has happened to those factors. so to begin with both groups were probably split in favor of mr.

as i predicted sf's lack a political organization forced him to inevitable mistakes (accepting conditional support of unp, jvp and others) and then he committed an avoidable mistake by accepting conditional support of unrepentant former ltte puppets in tna/itak, probably under the false impressions that 'tamils will decide' and tna represents tamils. iow, his biggest political problem got bigger due to his own actions.

if there is a trend favoring sf in the camp of those who didn't like to see ltte defeated due to some peaceniks and unrepentant ltte supporters extending him support, an opposite trend has started (and is encouraged by mr propagandists) among sri lankans who did like to see ltte defeated and want to prevent ltte supporters and appeasers regaining power.

in any case, the ppl who don't like the victory over terrorists are a much much smaller group than those who celebrate that victory. as such even in the unlikely event of first group favoring sf 100%, whole of that support is unlikely to cover the gap between him and mr in second group.

due to all these reasons, and contrary to above myth, mahinda will win, by a big margin. my prediction as before.

all this is speculation. but speculations of a person who lives in reality and depends on reason, rather than on racist myths.

btw here is a small myth test for regular bloggers and their readers.

if those who appreciate ltte's defeat are evenly split as claimed by the myth, why is it that all the bloggers who were in support of military defeat of ltte during the operations are now supporting mr?

if there is a split, it is among bloggers who were opposed to military operations, who are now either supporting sf, mr, or writing silly cliché ridden posts agonizing whether to vote or not to vote.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for another excellent write up! I wish your articles could get exposure in newspapers because a lot of Sri Lankans need to read this!!!

Anonymous said...

Two thumbs up!

Indi said...

Adoh Ponaya wait another 48 hours. You won't have a place to hide fool. Ponaya

sittingnut said...

thanks for the compliments.

btw imo last comment is not by indi.padashow . in my experience he is not that direct preferring subterfuges said...

true true..

sittingnut said...

for about an half hour before this, one person from an ip address in sri lanka was reloading this pages continuously .
due to browser settings it is impossible to know the referring link from my log , however i suspect it is part of attempt to send this post like some others into kottu 'popuar list '.

in any case they have not succeeded ( bc other blogs with probably similarly inflated numbers are already in those lists. some other blogger have already commented on this in their blogs ) .

why this is happening ? i have no idea.
as i said in another blog that commented on this , aim of those doing this seem to be either to make the bloggers who get such hits suspect and unpopular among rest of bloggers , and/or to cover up other blogs that are being promoted by similar hits.

for all i know there may be some sort of competition between two ppl or groups?

anyway if this continues i will give details of ip addresses with inordinately large amount of same page reloads (10+) within few mins

this sort of thing happened before in 2007
see the details here scroll doen to red colored updates

in spite of my public and private complaints to all concerned, no action was taken as far as i can see. while this blog was spared further attention after that , other blogs hits were clearly manipulated to appear on the list ( probably without knowledge of blog owners)

Anonymous said...

An excellent article.

Is there any way that yuo can get this to the public ? If you can you provide a sinhala translation of this we can make an attempt to get a few 1000 distributed amongst family and friends before actual voting happens. That way we are not violatin any rules.

Anonymous said...

Watch the first 20-25 minutes of this video you will see interesting parallels with SL:

Anonymous said...

Watch the first 20-25 minutes of this video you will see interesting parallels with SL:

Anonymous said...

While article has many good points, the language put me off a bit. I'm not sure if peaceniks is a very good choice as it most closely is associated with right wing American Republicans.

Nevertheless, its great to hear truth about lies spread here in West. I sincerely hope that appreciation of President Rajapaksa's achievements, won't stop his supporters from pointing out serious shortcomings of the president's policies (followed by possitive criticism)