The Burma/Myanmar Name Game

What's in a name? Plenty, when referring to the protests that are becoming increasingly violent in the Asian country being referred to as both Myanmar and Burma. Governments around the world are condemning the actions of the military junta, which started cracking down on protesters, killing at least nine people and arresting more than 100 Buddhist monks.

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What's in a name? Plenty, when referring to the protests that are becoming increasingly violent in the Asian country being referred to as both Myanmar and Burma. Governments around the world are condemning the actions of the military junta, which started cracking down on protesters, killing at least nine people and arresting more than 100 Buddhist monks.

While some are calling the country Myanmar, others are using an older name, Burma. The BBC explained that the military junta renamed the country Myanmar in 1989 after a wave of similar uprisings a year before. The United Nations and other countries like France and Japan recognize this government; however, both the United Kingdom and the United States do not. Thus, this explains the BBC's and President Bush's usage of Burma and the U.N.'s use of Myanmar. 

By refusing to call the country Myanmar, Bush is showing his distaste for the military junta that is using force against nonviolent protesters who have for 10 days taken to the streets of Yangon to express dissent for the military government's rule. The protests originated from the government's decision to hike fuel prices and have spiraled into a larger call for democracy.

Nikki Schwab