Reporters on the Job
TOO CURIOUS TO BE JOURNALISTS: Like most Afghans, Amanath Khan, the agriculture minister for Konar Province, was a gracious host and agreed to help the Monitor's Scott Baldauf find a few poppy farmers to interview (page 1). "But he was absolutely convinced that we were not journalists, but US government spies. At one point, he pulled our translator aside and told him, 'You trust these people too much, but I know they are spies. They ask too many questions.' "
True, journalists are a nosy lot, but Scott isn't a secret agent. "Our translator tried to set the minister straight, but the minister replied, 'OK, you do what you have to do, but I'm telling you these are dangerous people.' "
WHO'S INTERVIEWING WHOM? Reporter Lucien Chauvin interviewed two wool weavers in Peru the same day President Bush signed the trade act benefitting the Andean countries (page 7). "I went to Porcon Farm to get their reaction to the new law," says Lucien. "But in their eyes, my American nationality was far more important than my profession. They saw me as an American who could help them export their products. While I was asking questions about weaving and the small vicuña herd nearby, they were interviewing me about companies that might help their sales in the United States."
WESTERN INFLUENCES: Reporter Philip Smucker went to a drug rehab hostel outside Cairo (this page) expecting to find what the experts had told him: "Arab youngsters who want a taste of the West think that new drugs will give them a free ride to new realms," says Phil.
Instead, he met Tarek Mikhail, a recovering Egyptian addict, who started free-basing cocaine in Los Angeles in the 1980s. His family is back in LA and he hopes, once he is strong enough, to join them there because he loves the "good life" America has to offer.
David Clark Scott