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Burmese poet arrested for “hidden message”

From The Guardian:

A Burmese author known for his love poetry has been arrested after penning a Valentine’s Day verse carrying a hidden message about the leader of the country’s military junta, Senior General Than Shwe.

The poet, Saw Wai, was arrested on Tuesday, a day after his poem “February 14” was published in the popular weekly entertainment magazine A Chit, according to friends and colleagues who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The eight-line poem in Burmese is about a man broken-hearted 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. He keeps himself sequestered in his remote, newly built capital, Naypyitaw, deep in the country’s interior.

We sincerely hope that Saw Wai is freed soon.

(We must note, however, that this is yet more proof that Oulipian constraints are nothing but trouble with a capital T+7.)