We note with considerable interest the goings-on in Burma these days, where the military junta that runs the country — one of the most repressive governments in the world today — is finding itself in a bit of a cleft stick as Buddhist monks are waging an ever-bolder campaign of civil disobedience.
Were any other group attempting such defiance of the ruling committee, they would be crushed by the armed forces, but such is the popular allegiance to these monks that the army, so far, has not dared, and so they are being pushed ever deeper into a very difficult corner.
Science-fiction readers, of which I was one myself in my youth, may note some similarity in this situation to one that the late Isaac Asimov described in his Foundation series. In that story, when a credulous agricultural populace was forced to choose sides between the technological priesthood of the Foundation and the mighty army of the Galactic Empire, they sided with the priests — the stewards of their immortal souls.
It certainly would be wonderful to see this awful regime driven from power in a bloodless revolution, but it is not in the nature of those who have gained absolute power by force to surrender it peacefully. Something has to give way soon. The world is watching.