TENNIS, ANYONE? Reporters and photographers work closely together, so the Monitor's Scott Baldauf didn't hesitate to help Bob Harbison to take the earlier photo for the story about an Afghan tennis star (page 7). But Scott quickly came to regret his decision.
"The Taliban had banned taking pictures of living things, including tennis players. The only way we could surreptiously take photos of Mohammad Daud was for me to play a few games against him," says Scott. "For about 20 humiliating minutes, I huffed and puffed from one corner of the court to the next, just to hear Daud shout, 'Very good. Need more practice.' But on retrieving the many balls from behind me, I noticed a group of young Taliban soldiers peering at us through the chain-link fence of the tennis court. For Daud's safety, we decided to stop, just in case the soldiers reported our 'secret' photo session.' "
HOTWIRING A BUS: Transport through the West Bank is always difficult. On Sunday, when Israel suddenly tightened security, it became even more uncertain. Reporter Ben Lynfield was forced to choose between his story and his driver when he was turned back at an army checkpoint on the way to Shiyukh, the home of the Palestinians shot early Sunday (page 7).
"I walked for a while, then flagged down a Palestinian public minibus. But soon an Israeli jeep pulled in front of it. All the passengers were ordered to go home and the driver was told to stay put. They asked for his permit, which he showed them, and then they took the ignition key. Fifteen minutes later, they briefly returned, but left without giving back the key. The driver was surprisingly calm about all of this. He flagged down another bus, whose driver gave him what looked like a pair of nails. Soon he had the engine whirring and the vehicle lurching forward to the next stop."
David Clark Scott