WHAT makes a person go to jail for his beliefs and fortifies that person to hold strong while the moments of life -- weddings, births, deaths -- pass by?

Essam el-Erian missed six and a half years of freedom for his political work. In that way he has something in common with those who accepted prison to call for freedom from the oppression of the Soviet Union. He shares something in common with Riad Seif, a former prisoner in Syria who was recently released after serving more than five years for his democracy work, and Ayman Nour, sentenced to five years hard labor in Egypt after challenging the governing party's monopoly on power.