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Our First Amendment: It's a Good Thing

Our country is so fortunate to have both the law and a culture that fosters free speech. In contrast, there the Union of Myanmar, formerly know as Burma.

A blogger in Myanmar has been sentenced to 20 years and six months in jail for publishing a poem that contained a disguised criticism of Myanmar's military dictator. The poem's author received a two year sentence. Even the lawyer who represented the two men before a court in Rangoon received a four month sentence for 'contempt of court.'

According to the TimesOnline:

"Mr Saw Wai’s poem, entitled ‘14th February’, was ostensibly a Valentine’s Day verse published last January in a popular weekly magazine. “You have to be in love truly, madly, deeply and then you can call it real love,” it read. “Millions of people who know how to love, please clap your hands of gilded gold and laugh out loud.”

"But the first word of each line spelled out a pithier message about the leader of the country’s military government: “Power Crazy Senior General Than Shwe”. Mr Saw Wai was arrested the next day and charged with harming “public tranquility”.

What a terrifying time for people in Myanmar. There can hardly be a greater contrast than that between what happened to this author and publisher over one poem and all the political speech that occurs daily and freely in the United States.

It's worth repeating: Our First Amendment; It's a Good Thing.

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