The title here is not at all an exaggeration or a mischaracterization. Myanmar, which at least theoretically took a major step forward as a country (in terms of things like basic human rights) this year by kicking out what was effectively a military junta. Myanmar stunned the world when the country held elections that were actually reasonably open and resulted in a peaceful transition of power to mostly civilian authority.
As a result of this, the Myanmar army decided that they needed a bit of a visual facelift and, well, changing their uniforms to make them look snappier in the Spring. A Burmese citizen noticed that not only were the new uniforms much more suitable Miami beachwear, they also matched the skirt that the opposition leader in Burma is famous for wearing. She did this by posting the following image on her personal Facebook page:
What happened next was a useful reminder that there are way, way worse places to live than the United States:
On Monday, the 25-year-old Tun was sentenced to six months in prison for ridiculing the military. She denies the charges and claims her Facebook account was hacked, but the Burmese Maubin Township court justified her sentencing by pointing to the country’s 2013 telecommunications law, which bans citizens from using online platforms to “extort, threaten, obstruct, defame, disturb, inappropriately influence or intimidate.”
Tun’s lawyer, Robert San Aung, criticized the ruling and noted that the case marked the first time someone in Myanmar had been prosecuted for defamation over a Facebook post. “The rule of law in Burma is isolated,” hesaid. “Others who spread hate speech [online] that assaults race and religion and the community are free while she was jailed.”
This is simply outstanding. A private citizen puts up a Facebook meme and the allegedly much improved Burmese government throws her in jail for six months.
All of that is to say, thank God we live in America.