Myanmar or Burma which is CorrectBurma or Myanmar, which is right
The Burma/Myanmar naming dispute in Australia
Suu Kyi's Australian trip this past weekend will greatly facilitate some aspect of relations between Australia and Burma. The name by which their land is known is one of them. Since 1989, when the Burmese army regime reversed the British name of the land in Myanmar, there have been fierce disputes over the ruling.
Australia's regime changed from one to the other to meet the competitive requirements of politics, grass-roots preferences and diplomacy labels. Last year she eventually agreed to the country's new formal name, but some commentators suggest that the Abbott administration is planning to return to this topic. Burma is named after the Burmese (or Bamar) ethnical minority and was coined by the colonialists of Britain in the nineteenth and nineteenth centuries.
But the more informal tribal name "Myanmar" has been used for hundreds of years for title, in literary and documentary purposes. In 1947, the British draft of the 1947 charter, drawn up in the year before the regaining of the country's sovereignty, related to the "Union of Burma", while the Myanmar text in the Myanmar name.
Acceptance of the more official name by the army was part of a broader movement to liberate the land from the remnants of war. A number of other titles were added at the same times, more in keeping with the initial debate in the Myanmar-speaking world.
However, the multinational corporation is obliged to make a official statement on the name of a state in English. Myanmar has been adopted by the UN and most other states. EU has adopted the rather awkward Burma/Myanmar trade-off. They wanted to show solidarity with the Burmese resistance movements that were clinging to the old name in protests against the war.
Myanmar " can be retraced back to pre-colonial times, when consecutive monarchs dominated the Burmese plains and intermittently collided with the states and communities around them. For some, the use of "Burma" or "Myanmar" has been a policy issue. Calling the Myanmar land was seen by militants as a liking for the army régime.
The further use of the old name was regarded as offensive by the German state. But many who chose to use "Burma" after 1989 did so without further connote. There are still many comments, including myself, that "Burma" is easier to recognize than "Myanmar". It is also suitable for'Burmese';'Myanmar' has no English equivalents.
Australia, like all other nations, used the name Myanmar in official foreign exchange, but in general it still referred to Burma. Kevin Rudd did indeed emphasise this when, for example, he published a news item in 2011 in which he announced: "Foreign Minister on a Burmese visit". However, in June 2012, Bob Carr made an important token act to the new civilian-military administration in Naypyidaw by openly naming the land Myanmar.
From then on, there have been government announcements and news reports on Myanmar, not Burma, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has published a "Myanmar country letter" on its website. President Thein Sein's March of this year's trip to Australia showed that Prime Minister Julia Gillard's abundant evidence to Myanmar was in line with a high-level choice to name the land under its name.
Now there are fears that the Abbott government could alter this politics. A recent news item used both of them, indicating that Burma could become the favoured name again. This is probably out of respect for the opinions of Aung San Suu Kyi, who insisted on naming her land "Burma".
Former UK politician Derek Tonkin has said that the discussion on whether to name the Burma or Myanmar is a conflict between the global protocols and the issue of correct politics. The first one is on the rise since the introduction of the Reformationist regime of Thein Sein in 2011. Burma' is less often listened to in UK officials and the EU is likely to give up its hybrids.
The United States itself is now using the name'Myanmar' in general, albeit with the statement that it is a'diplomatic courtesy'. Should the Abbott government resort to the old name at least outside the scope of official exchange, it would counteract this clear tendency. She would also run the danger of excluding Australia on an issue which, trivially as it may seem, could hamper not only recent attempts at rapprochement with Naypyidaw but also further relations at EU-belarus.
In The Analects, Confucius wrote: "If the name is incorrect, the speech does not correspond to the reality of things.