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Democracy's Heroes

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Islamic terrorists should learn this: Over the long term, it's simply not possible to stamp out democracy and freedom.

They may puff with pride over perceived victories, such as Thursday's London bombings or the announced killing of Egypt's top diplomat in Iraq.

But even in the terrorists' own backyard, individuals are taking a stand for liberty and human rights. Sometimes they're voters, such as in Lebanon and Iraq. Sometimes they're journalists, such as Akbar Ganji, a political prisoner now in his fourth week of a hunger strike inside Iran's Evin Prison.

And sometimes they're political opposition figures who simply refuse to give up. One of them is Egyptian Ayman Nour. His jailing without charges earlier this year raised his status from parliamentarian to potential democratic hero.

Egyptian authorities eventually came up with a bogus charge against Mr. Nour: forgery of signatures to form his party, Tomorrow. But this week revealed where the true fraud lay. The trial was postponed after a key witness suddenly recanted his testimony, saying he'd been pressured by security forces to implicate Nour.

The trial's postponement until late September clears the way for Nour to run in Egypt's first contested presidential campaign against Hosni Mubarak, who has won four "elections" unopposed and ruled for 24 years.

Even when in jail, Nour said he would run. He reiterated his intention this week, despite the shadow of the unresolved trial, violence against his supporters, and signs that the election will not be fully free or fair.

It's that liberty-driven perseverance that prevails over the oppression of political despots and fanatic terrorists.


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