This letter to the International Herald Tribune by an official from the "Embassy of the Union of Myanmar" really annoyed me with its criticism of a Human Rights Watch report on the persecution of ethnic minorities by the military, especially with its suggestion that "The International Herald Tribune needs to be sensitive to the real conditions in Myanmar." Either way, I was interested in what the website of the Embassy of the Union of Myanmar had to say for itself.

Myanmar or Burma?

The party (National League for Democracy) stated that the name-change is not a priority and it has to be done with a vote. It is quite amazing for someone to say such a thing since national unity is and always would be a top priority in any country in the world.

The National League for Democracy is, of course, the party of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Putting important matters like the name of the country to a vote would be wrong, since democracy does not promote national unity, fiats do.

Why The Change From State Law & Order Restoration Council To State Peace & Development Council

The change itself indicates that the military government regards itself as a transitional or a caretaker government, exacting a step-by-step transformation to democracy it cherishes for the entire nation. If the military government intends to hold on to the power as it has been accused by the western governments, changes in the name of the government or members of its administration are not necessary. It is a change of substance, entity and identity.

Of course, were a government to change its name, but keep the members of its administration the same, it would have the external appearance of change while retaining its "substance, entity, and identity."
Unfortunately, we have been inescapably stuck in the first phase [of the transition to democracy] much longer than we initially have expected, due to unnecessary pressures and problems created from within the country and abroad. The economic sanctions and embargoes imposed on Myanmar by the western countries are like putting obstacles and hurdles on our path to democracy. Ironically, it is the same western nations that are criticizing Myanmar for not being a democracy.

Had those economic sanctions not been in place, the government of "Myanmar" could have continued updating its "Road Map Process" page, which attempts to show Burma's transition to democracy in HTML. Unfortunately, despite its bright "Daily Updated News" image, it does not seem to have been updated since May 2004.