Reporters on the Job

• ALMOST A SMUGGLER: Like many of the journalists covering the Church of the Nativity standoff, Ben Lynfield spent quite a bit of time waiting in Bethlehem. Last week, he was walking down a street that was empty (because of the curfew) with the exception of a few bored Israeli soldiers. "A woman leaned out her window and called out to me. She asked me to carry a pack of cigarettes to her neighbor. She was too afraid to leave the building. I went over to talk to her, was invited inside, and spent the next hour getting a history lesson," says Ben.

It turns out her brother is an economist, local historian, and a member of a Christian family that has lived in Bethlehem since before the 16th century. "He gave me advice on who to talk to for today's story (page 12), and a lesson on the culture of old Christian families in Bethlehem. "Best of all, I didn't have to risk life and limb to deliver the cigarettes. They changed their minds."

• THE MAKING OF A JOURNALIST: Reporter Arie Farnam wasn't a history buff in high school. History was "her most boring" subject. But at age 16, she went to Germany as an exchange student, where she met Czech friends who invited her to spend New Year's with them in a little cabin on the Czech-Polish border.

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"It was December 1992, and Czechoslovakia was breaking apart around us. The atmosphere was one of desperate hope and suppressed fear," recalls Arie. "We hiked up into the hills in the snow to see the bunkers Czech farmers had built during World War II to try to fend off Hitler's invading army. My Czech friends also anxiously pointed out the ruins of houses which had once been German homes, destroyed after the war.

Then, the owner of the little house where we were staying in the village of Lichkov told me the beginnings of today's story (this page), and I totally changed my mind about history. His love of history was the spark that made peace for a whole village. I returned years later, and met Hedwig Flegel and heard her story as well. I also spent one wonderful afternoon singing folk songs with the Sudeten Germans and their Czech friends. "I can say, without any doubt, that this story is one of the reasons I became a journalist," she says.

SAY WHAT?

• BURMA'S PRO-DEMOCRACY LEADER: The name of the winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, Aung San Suu Kyi, is pronounced: "ahng sahn soo chee."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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