Around the time reform-supporters in Russia fired up their faxes and e-mails and surrounded and protected Boris Yeltsin, the conventional wisdom started growing that the new information technology would liberate "the people" rather than empower their would-be oppressors. "1984" had gotten it wrong. But as we can now see from the monstrous actions by the thugs in Burma, that view may have been a tad premature:
The Internet has been a welcome gateway for political dissidents around the world, often letting activists stay a step ahead of the repressive regimes that would silence them. But in a country as repressive as Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), the government holds a trump card: shutting down the Internet altogether.
In the midst of protests in Myanmar cities that have brought thousands to the streets and led to the military's killing at least nine rioters and journalists, the Myanmar government has shut down all access to the Internet from within the country, according to Reporters Without Borders.
Those with abolute power can still find a way to exercise it. Plugs can still be found and pulled.