A reader in Yangon/Rangoon says this about the "Burma" v. "Myanmar" question:
In your article you miss one critical point.
Burma was the name given by the British, and is a corruption of Bamar. The Bamar people are the ethnic majority of the lowland areas of the country, referred to as divisions eg, Yangon Division, Bago Division, Mandalay Division. The other parts of the country are known as States, where other ethnic groups form the majority eg Chin State, Shan State, Karen State each named after majority ethnic group.
Therefore, to insist on calling the country Burma (Bamar) falls into the trap of Bamar nationalism, identifiable not just to Military but to the NLD as well, but always to the exclusion and the expense of the many other ethnic groups.
Unfortunately, Burmese nationalism has been a problem in the country for centuries (and made worse under the British policy of divide and rule), and unless the more inclusive Myanmar is used will continue to be so no matter who is in charge.
If you decide to use this info, please attribute it to ANON in Yangon (the historically correct name for Rangoon), and be assured I am not a stooge, but have friends here from pretty much every community !
Actually we don't disagree. As I said the first time around, within Burma there have been serious arguments for years about what the country should call itself, to reflect the relations among its component ethnic groups. If Burma wants to call itself Myanmar for internal purposes, no outsider should object.
But as for the name outsiders use, here is the plain fact: nearly 20 years ago the brutal SLORC commandos insisted on the change to Myanmar as a way of aggrandizing and legitimizing themselves and of suggesting a Year Zero, history-starts-with-us outlook on the country. There is no reason for outsiders to go along with them, especially now.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.