• Who's Interviewing Whom? Reporter Rachel Scheier says the West is a common scapegoat among Ugandans who believe that tradition is being supplanted by "foreign" ideas that make African women want to own property and drive cars (page 1). "When I went to the office of Nsubuga Nsambu, a lawyer and member of Parliament who opposes such changes, I found myself being interviewed as a Western female," says Rachel. "Like many Ugandans, he was eager to know 'how we do things' in the US. He was fascinated to learn that divorce is relatively common in America and that some American men claim to be satisfied with only one woman. (He refused to disclose how many wives he has.) 'It is you people that are the cause of all the problems,' he told me cheerfully as we sipped soft drinks. At first I took it as American-bashing, but then I realized he meant women."
• No Midnight Mass: Reporter Dan Murphy was planning on attending a Christmas Eve midnight mass or service. But talking to Iraqi Christians earlier this week (this page), he found out the usual festivities had been called off across the city, and that all church services would be over by 7 p.m. because of security concerns. But one Iraqi grocer said he was expecting more US artillery barrages on Christmas Eve since the US is in the middle of "Operation Iron Grip," designed to send a message to insurgents. "We're not having much of a party, but you can almost fool yourself into believing the blasts are celebratory, if you forget what they're for," he told Dan.
David Clark Scott