Reporters on the job

FRIENDLY FIRE: "No, don't go! The Tali-ban might shoot us," the young guard pleaded with correspondent Scott Peterson. Scott was following another rebel fighter to higher ground to observe US air strikes at the Afghan front line (this page). "Ah," spat Scott's translator, dismissively. "He is only a boy, and he is afraid."

But as Scott, the translator, and the other fighter stood on a hill, watching columns of black smoke rise to the sky from the American bombs, suddenly a shot rang out - from very near. They all jumped. The boy soldier had fired off a round from his assault rifle at a nearby rock. "He's joking, he's scared," Scott's translator said, to deflate the tension.

"I'm not afraid!" the boy protested, after overhearing the remark. "I will walk alone with you to the Taliban front line," he said, with a new swagger in his voice. "Let's go." But discretion proved the better part of valor.

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ARTIST'S AMBASSADOR: Reporter Arie Farnam first met the Belrussian artist in today's story at a neighbor's apartment in Prague (page 9). Her neighbor, Igor Tschay, a Russian-Ukrainian painter, lived in an apartment with no electricity and inadequate heat, but his doors were always open to refugees (and lonely journalists). A sign still hangs out front, declaring it "The Artists Embassy." "Igor ran his home as a safe house. New arrivals from as far away as India and Nepal found their way to his kitchen table," says Arie. "He rarely had more than brown bread, but he shared what he had with all comers. I sat in the kitchen, listening to the refugees' stories by candlelight on many nights. Whenever I was depressed, I could always find laughter and hope at Igor's place."

Last August, while visiting friends in Belgium, Igor died in a fire. The incident went unnoticed by the most of the world. Tschay had no title or position, but his kindness touched the lives of many.

- David Clark Scott

World editor

Cultural snapshot

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