Monday, June 1, 2009

People Anxious About Ailing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

By Takaloo, Sittwe (Narinjara): The wide-spreading news of the deteriorating health of Burma's detained democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is causing worry among people around the country, report residents in Arakan.

"Almost everyone in our locality is worried for her on hearing that she is ill in prison. As she is our sole hope for democratic reform in our country, we hope for her good health and pray for her well-being," said a female shopkeeper in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan in western Burma.

Anxious over the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, most people are listening to the foreign-based radio news from the BBC, RFA, and VOA, so they can keep up with her latest situation. Local media and newspapers, which are heavily censored by the military regime, rarely publish news about political dissent in Burma.

"I don't hear people talking about the price of merchandise here for days since the detention of Daw Aung San Suu in Insein prison. They start to open their mouth with the latest news about her heard from the BBC, RFA, or VOA radio programs. People are feeling great concern for her and wish for her good health," said another woman, a cross-border trader from Maungdaw on the border with Bangladesh.

Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is being detained in the notorious Insein prison and is on trial on new charges of breaking her house arrest conditions after an American man intruded into her lakeside residence earlier this month. She could face a minimum of five years in prison if convicted.

Critics say the regime has put Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on trial amid a storm of international pressure in order to keep her in prison during its 2010 general elections, which are widely believed to be an effort to legitimize and entrench military rule in Burma.

Her party stated last Friday that it was gravely concerned about her health as she could not sleep due to leg cramps at night and called for urgent medical care for her.

"Anxiety for her is clearly growing among the people after hearing the news of her deteriorating health because everyone regards her as a democracy leader and believe that Burma can not become a democracy without her," said U Pinnyadipa, a Buddhist monk from Mrauk-U, an ancient city of Arakan.

According to Narinjara reporters inside Arakan, the military authorities have stepped up security measures in the main towns of Arakan Sate, especially restricting the travel of monks and keeping close watch on some big monasteries in case Aung San Suu Kyi's trial triggers social unrest and protests in the area.

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