Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Burma/Myanmar Mea Culpa

It pains me (greatly) to admit this, but I fear I owe our President an apology. Yesterday I was listening to his comments to the UN and he repeatedly referred to Myanmar as Burma. I was struck by two thoughts: "not only does he needless invade countries to tell them how to govern themselves, but now he's telling them what to call themselves as well," and "thank God he didn't have to say the word 'nuclear'."

Later last night, I noticed that NBC and the BBC used Burma as well. So I did some homework. To the Burmese, the two names mean the same thing. However, when the junta decided to call it Myanmar, San Suu Kyi (Nobel Prize-winning activist who was compared to Ghandi & Mandela today on NPR) said her party would continue to call the country Burma until a popular vote could be taken on the new name. The United States followed her lead.

Turns out Burma is a cause recently adopted by Laura. I wrongly assumed W was just outta touch (by 19 years) on the matter. Doh!!!


sven said...

My Dear Dr. Sheridan,
My impeachable (no reference to the Former President (42) intended) sources tell me you were given that information by a knowledgeable person in Langley, WA, yet you failed to give proper credit to said person.
Sven Gustavensen

Sue said...

Sven, I TRIED to get my father's opinion. He knew bupkis about the topic. As always however, NPR came thru for me and helped with my homework (Fox News probably couldn't even spell Myanmar...)