Reporters on the Job

PASS WITH CARE: Monitor reporter Nicole Gaouette has seen donkeys hauling goods before in the West Bank. But recently, as she drove the dusty, narrow roads, she began thinking that someone should post "Beware of Donkey" signs.

"I often had to slow down or pull over to avoid donkey carts; there were noticeably more on the road than a year ago. It is donkey-trading season, farmers told me, but they added that there was no way to get by without one now," she says.

Despite the economic suffering, Nicole says the animal market was akin to a county fair. "People were happy to talk and show me their donkey's teeth. The only touchy moment came when, thinking like a North American and mulling the donkey shortage, I asked if a black market had developed. 'Donkey stealing?' a farmer asked incredulously. 'Miss, people here still respect each other.' "

RE-UPPING: The Monitor's Ann Scott Tyson noticed the man right away at a Baghdad recruitment drive for Iraq's new Army. "He was well dressed, well groomed - the hallmarks of a former high-ranking officer," Ann says. He told her he had been a lieutenant colonel. Now he was interested in joining the new Army - but the 19-page application gave him pause. "He was worried the information he gave could cause him to be put on trial, simply because he had been an officer. People like this could be very useful - and many there were enthusiastic. But they had a lot of questions that no one could seem to answer," Ann says. The lack of communication from the authorities, she notes, allows fears and suspicions to breed among Iraqis.

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

Cultural snapshot

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