Reporters on the Job
RELIVING RECENT HISTORY: Sitting in the modern public gallery of the Hague tribunal among neatly dressed and well fed observers, listening to a lawyer lay out the recent political history of the Balkans in a recital of dates and events, the Monitor's Peter Ford found it was hard to make a connection with the massive human suffering in the region.
But at one point yesterday morning, the prosecutor aired video on the court TV screens that was shot after the fall of a Croatian town to Serb forces in 1991. "The weary and frightened faces of civilians trudging through the mud away from their shattered homes - one of whom is known to have been shot dead minutes later - brought home in dramatic fashion just what this court case is all about," Peter says.
POST-KIDNAPPING PAKISTAN: Since reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped on Jan. 23, the Monitor's Scott Baldauf says that there hasn't been a big change in the way Western journalists operate in Pakistan. "There are just as many guards with shotguns outside my guest house," says Scott. Most journalists say they're taking a few more precautions, but they still work alone, traveling into villages and markets with a trusted driver or translator. "Yet, few are chasing down the sorts of stories we did before, meeting with militant groups in Pakistani villages or interviewing religious leaders in their mosques," he says. "Part of this is prudence. And part has to do with the fact that many militants are no longer available. We used to be able to drop by their offices for tea, but the few militants who aren't in custody are in hiding."
MUSIC TO DRIVE BY: While working on today's story (this page), the Monitor's Danna Harman traveled from Sana, Yemen, to Aden - a 12-hour drive across the desert. Once again she was paired up with the same three armed escorts, all named Muhammad. Last time, they argued as they listened nonstop to a Rolling Stones CD. This time, they jettisoned the Stones and bought a Desiree CD. It, too, was played nonstop. "At least it was something that we all agreed upon," sighed Danna.
In fact, they got along so well that they took Danna to meet their families. All their mothers (the fathers have multiple wives) showered her with attention and jewelry, and even a dress. Feeling that she had to reciprocate their kindnesses, she asked each Muhammad what she should get the other. "They all said the same thing: honey." She got a small pot of honey for each.
- David Clark Scott