Perhaps I was unfair to single out CNN for its relentless insistence on the name Myanmar rather than Burma. Lamentably, the New York Times is doing the same thing (for instance, here). The Economist is bizarrely schizophrenic on the question. Its latest cover boldly says, "Burma's Saffron Revolution," but in the accompanying lead story all references are to Myanmar. Good for the Washington Post, which on its front page goes unashamedly with Burma, as does virtually all of the British media (BBC, Times, Guardian, Telegraph) except for the inexplicable Economist.

I suppose CNN sticks in my craw because they were the first media outlet in which I'd noticed such ostentatiously PC-sounding Myanmar-ization, especially in their arm's-length treatment of G.W. Bush's speech about "Burma." And just now they nonchalantly introduced comments "on Myanmar" from Archibishop Desmond Tutu, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, a Burmese democracy advocate, and America's own Condoleezza Rice, only to have each of them begin, "The problem in Burma is" or "The people of Burma hope..." Take a hint, CNN and NYT!

One more thought experiment, on the argument that Burma is a "colonial" name: If a country changes its name in the process of becoming independent, no problem. Today's Ghana had been the Gold Coast as a British colony; when it became independent 50 years ago, it became Ghana too. New country; new name. But suppose a junta took over Mexico tomorrow and said that henceforth the world must call the country Atzlan. (Or, to choose a country with a name more obviously traceable to the colonial era, the Dominican Republican, or the Philippines.) It's not a new country; it's just a new regime, and there would be no need to oblige them, just there is no need to dignify the brutal Burmese generals

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