Poet Saw Wai Arrested in Myanmar

myanmar.gifYANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A Myanmar poet known for his odes to love was arrested after penning a Valentine’s Day poem that carried a hidden message criticizing the leader of the country’s military junta, Senior Gen. Than Shwe, colleagues said Thursday.The poet, Saw Wai, was arrested Tuesday, a day after his poem “February 14” was published in the popular weekly entertainment magazine “A Chit,” or “Love,” according to friends and colleagues who spoke on condition of anonymity fearing reprisals.

The eight-line poem in Burmese is about a man brokenhearted after falling for a fashion model, whom he thanks for having taught him the meaning of love.

But if read vertically, the first word of each line forms the phrase: “Power crazy Senior General Than Shwe.”

Than Shwe, 74, who has headed the junta since 1992, has little tolerance for criticism.

Image from CIA World Factbook.


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