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Military bans recitation of poems written by famous late poet Zaw Gyi at public event

(Mizzima/IFEX) - The following is a 10 April 2007 statement from Mizzima News, an interim member of IFEX:

Recitation of poems by Burma's greatest poet banned

The Burmese military regime banned the recitation of poems of the famous late poet Zaw Gyi at a memorial service held in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of his birthday in Phyapon, Irrawaddy division, on 8 April 2007.

Three of seven poems, written by Saya Zaw Gyi decades ago, were not allowed to be recited on stage. Maung Saine Ni, the editor of a local monthly magazine, "Padauk Pwint Thit", was supposed to read the poems aloud.

"He (Saine Ni) selected seven poems of Saya Zaw Gyi. The authorities only allowed the reading of four out of seven. So he cancelled the recitation programme," said Ni Lon Oo, a poet who took part in the recital.

The rejected poems are about inspiring patriotism, Burmese culture and life in general.

"We did hope to honour the great poet with his poems but the agenda was cancelled. We were so upset. These poems were already published in a book and the censorship board allowed it to be published," Ni Lon Oo added. He could not name which agency had banned the reading.

The centennial celebration of Zaw Gyi was held in his native town of Phyapon five days ahead of his actual birth date on 12 April.

The celebration included an inaugural ceremony to launch a statue of Zaw Gyi and literacy lectures by writers and poets.

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