Reporters on the Job
• NEPALI MOUNTAIN HIGH: The Monitor's Scott Baldauf says that despite numerous visits to Nepal, he's never been tempted to make the 29,035-foot ascent up Everest (page 1). "I'm not drawn to sports that require you to take an oxygen bottle along. At the start of this story, I was skeptical about the whole notion of mountaineering. Risking one's life for a nice view... I'll pass," he says.
But after talking to Ang Phurba Sherpa and other Nepali mountaineers, "I started to grasp that this was about setting impossible goals and meeting them out of sheer determination. And while there are some dirty secrets in Everest mountaineering - such as the 'short tether,' which allows Sherpas to literally drag an out-of-shape climber to the summit - there is a rugged sense of triumph for those climbers who have made it to the top under their own speed. Sir Edmund Hillary, for instance, rocks," says Scott.
• INTERPRETING THE KURDS: For today's story on how the Kurds are dealing with their experiences under Baath Party rule (page 8), the Monitor's Cameron Barr and an interpreter met with an artist named Mohammed Fatah. The artist spoke about the need to remember Kurdish suffering, but also to forgive. The interpreter I'd hired asked to say something on his own account.
"I myself, I cannot forgive those people," he said, speaking of the Iraqis. "They destroyed my future." In later conversations, he explained why he blamed the Iraqis for his erratic career and other troubles. "I didn't put that material in the story," says Cameron, "because a reporter should never quote someone receiving his or her newspaper's money. But after the interpreter had his say, I began to view the Kurds' promises of reconciliation with deeper skepticism. There is among the Kurds a great reservoir of bitterness about what they have suffered under Iraq's governments."
David Clark Scott