Reporters on the Job

The Heart of Silence: The hardest part of doing his Valentine story from New Delhi (page 7), the Monitor's Scott Baldauf reports, was getting shopkeepers to talk. "One manager wouldn't talk, but allowed me to take pictures. Another let me to interview him, but not write down his name or the name of his shop. Finally, a florist talked, but she wouldn't give her full name or let me to use her shop's name."

Scott asked the merchants if they feared attacks. "No, there's nothing like that in the history of this district," the cosmetics manager told him. "But we don't want to make ourselves a target. You never know what can happen."

Scott says it reminded him in a small way of the mood in Afghanistan. "Villagers were reluctant to talk to the press for fear of retaliation by the Taliban," he says. "The violence is different, but the intimidation was the same."

Unofficially, We Like You: The 25th-anniversary party for Iran's Islamic revolution (this page) reflected the contradictions tugging at Iranian society, says correspondent Scott Peterson. Official anti-US rhetoric continues, and US flags and effigies of President Bush went up in smoke - including one with large ears and a tail (the Persian word for "mouse" rhymes with Bush). But there was also a quiet welcome for Scott from Iranians who asked where he was from - showing why many feel that Iran is one of the most pro-US nations in the Middle East.

Two boys who trailed Scott and his interpreter after the demonstration were particularly outgoing. "Follow, follow, follow him - you will end up in America!" one chanted. "Ask him if he has room in his bag for me!" shouted the other.

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

Cultural snapshot

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