irrawaddy news in eng

Poet Arrested After Coded Protest
By Shah Paung
January 23, 2008


Burmese poet Saw Wai has been arrested after authorities deciphered a piece of his work that contained a hidden message criticizing junta leader Than Shwe, according to sources within Rangoon’s literary circle.

Saw Wai The Burmese language poem, titled “February 14,” contains seven lines whose first words spell out “Than Shwe is foolish with power.” The poem was published in the publication Love Journal, which rapidly sold out after its appearance.

A Rangoon editor said Saw Wai was arrested after meeting Special Branch officers in the company of the publisher of Love Journal, Myat Khine, and its editor-in-chef Pan Hmwai. Both are close to the Burmese military authorities.

“Artists are trying to express their feelings in this current political situation in any way they can,” the editor said.

At the time of the 1988 uprising, Saw Wai was on the staff at the communications office in Pyu, Pegu Division, but was sacked after taking part in the demonstrations. Currently he is now leader of the White Rainbow, a social group organized by artists and writers to help care for orphans whose parents died of AIDS.

Meanwhile, two anti-government protesters in Taunggok, Arakan State, were also arrested on Tuesday after shouting demands for the release of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, according to eyewitnesses.

Earlier this month, troops and security forces blocked a demonstration by about 200 protesters, including monks, in Taunggok’s market.

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