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September 27, 2007


I suppose it's because addressing it as Myanmar would suggest they actually recognize the junta as the legitimate government.

Good point. But does that mean that the BBC, and George W. Bush in his UN address, and all the other people are making a political statement every time they speak of this country? If so, shouldn't they be explicit--"Burma--the country the junta calls Myanmar--"--lest we think it's ignorant or unintentional. Should I reconsider how I speak of this country?

So much to think about. I just want them to stop killing the protesters. And, you know, overhaul the entire government.

I call it Burma because when I meet people who are refugees from there, that's what they call it. Wikipedia says it changed to Myanmar in 1989, well into the Junta years, so I think that name is associated with the government. Regardless, here's hoping it gets better over there, and props to the monks!

I have become fascinated by the name issue, so I looked in the 'CIA World Factbook' about Burma, and they noted, "since 1989 the military authorities in Burma have promoted the name Myanmar as a conventional name for their state; this decision was not approved by any sitting legislature in Burma, and the US Government did not adopt the name, which is a derivative of the Burmese short-form name Myanma Naingngandaw."

BBC has lost a few steps over the years. They used to epitomize professional journalism. The last time I listened to the World Update, the reader not only said Burma, she also pronounced the first syllable of 'Buddhists' to rhyme with 'Fudd' instead of 'food'. Did Murdoch buy the BBC too?

Does anyone know what sparked the protests? It seems like nothing has really changed for 15 years or so. Why now?

Some info I got from an email from MoveOn.org Note their choice of country name:

"In Burma when protesters last marched in 1988, the military massacred thousands."

"For decades the Burmese dictatorship fought off pressure—imprisoning elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and democracy activists, wiping out thousands of villages in the provinces, bringing miseries from forced labour to refugee camps."

They call it Burma because to call it Myanmar is to accept the junta government as legitimate and neither the U.K. or the United States has accepted the name change. Also, most people know the country as Burma. However, most American papers call the country Myanmar and don't recognize the fact that the junta opposition don't accept this name.

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