Reporters on the Job

DEBATING WHO DID IT: While reporting today's story (this page), Scott Baldauf found himself seated in a garage in Peshawar, Pakistan, asking a group of businessmen what they thought of Osama bin Laden. "My host, Sala Huddin, who ran the garage, acted as translator and occasionally offered his own opinion. As we sat sipping Afghan-style green tea each of the men agreed Osama bin Laden was not capable of such a well-coordinated attack on New York City and Washington.

When I asked who could do the attack, the men began a heated argument. One man said maybe Iraq or Japan.

Another said Vietnam. But when a third man said: 'freedom fighters, Muslims, of course,' pandemonium broke out, with every word spoken in their native language of Pashtu. I sat sipping tea until my translator summed up their discussion: 'We disagree.' "

A UNIVERSAL FEELING: While reporting today's story on European reaction (page 9), Lucian Kim, in Berlin, Germany, spent most of the first 36 hours after the disaster glued to TV, radio, phone, and the Internet. "I first heard about the attack from a spokeswoman from the Ministry of Education, whom I had called. She was choking with emotion. I had a close friend who was near the World Trade Center when it collapsed (he's safe)," says Lucian. Since then, he's gotten e-mails and phone calls of support from Vietnamese, Russian, Polish, and Albanian friends. But it wasn't until he sat down to write, and reflect on this tragedy, that "my own shock and grief came out."

YES, WE WEAR TRENCH COATS: The Monitor's Nicole Gaouette was a little surprised by the openness of former Israeli spies (page 7). "For an intelligence agency with such a storied reputation for effectiveness, their members were totally up front about who they were and what they've done. They seemed to avoid the ethical questions. But being a Mossad agent is a badge of pride and honor in a place that values service to the nation."

Let us hear from you.

Mail to: One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 via e-mail: world@csmonitor.com

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