Reporters on the Job

Return to Haiti: Reporter Amy Bracken left Haiti last spring after two years of reporting about murder, poverty, natural disaster, and political upheaval. She was disheartened and burnt out. "I loved the country and knew I would miss the gracious people, beautiful language, unique music and art, the food, the energy in the air, etc., but I was sick of writing about decapitations and hunger and anger. I had to leave and had no plans, whatsoever, to return," she says.

Months later, back in Cambridge, Mass., she heard a rumor that there was an orchestra going to Haiti. "How could anybody believe that? I had stared into the barrels of guns and counted corpses in the street. Even I was scared to go to Haiti now."

But it was true. And Amy couldn't resist. "Flying into Cap-Haitien having been out of Haiti for less than three months, I felt like I was seeing the country for the first time. The Haiti I had returned to was not the Haiti I had left. Cap-Haitien is perhaps poorer than ever, but unlike the capital it is peaceful."

Walk Don't Run? While reporting today's story about Afghan candidates running for parliament, staff writer Scott Baldauf found a distinct lack of idealism or enthusiasm. "One mullah was running because his relatives forced him. A feminist was running, even though she felt President Hamid Karzai was going to control the parliament. A former communist said that he knew the jihadis were in control of key ministries, and were out to kill him," he says.

"Finally, a jihadi candidate told me there was one good reason to run: to limit the power of Hamid Karzai," says Scott. "He said that 'the Americans think that democracy is equal to Hamid Karzai. But we say a good parliament is one that expresses the people's voice. If it does this, then the parliament will bring peace to the country.' "

David Clark Scott
World editor

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