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A Few More Notes on Burma

At the risk of running this topic into the ground, there are a few more thoughts on Burma that I wanted to share.

First off, there's a thorough article from ForeignAffairs.org that details the rise of the military junta, the effects the regime is having not only on the country itself but those near it, and what steps should be taken by the international community about it. Read the article here.

With this historical background in place, I also wanted to mention something that cropped up on The Daily Show the other day. Very rarely do I have issues with the sainted Mr. Stewart and company, but every once in a while I'm reminded that they are first and foremost a comedy show - because every once in a while, they have to make a choice between telling the whole truth and going for a quick joke. And, every once in a while, they go for the joke. I can't find a clip of it right now, but, when covering a President Bush speech that referred to the Burma situation, they joked that maybe Bush didn't know Burma is now Myanmar.

This is something I've been asked recently more than once, and it is a bit confusing, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to help set the record straight. In this instance at least, Bush spoke correctly. Myanmar is a local name the junta made the country's official title after their forceful takeover, and because of this (and the humanitarian disaster their rule has become), it is not officially recognized as such by either the US or the UK. It would actually be even more wrong for the president of the United States to refer to the country in any other way than the US's official policy regarding it. So - Burma it is, at least officially. Unofficially, I suppose it's whatever you choose. Most of the organizations on the side of the Burmese people stick with Burma as well, most likely in another form of rebellion against the junta.