• Visiting the Methboubs: Staff writer Scott Peterson has been visiting and writing about the Methboubs, a family living in Baghdad, since December 2002. But associating with a Westerner these days can bring unwanted attention to an Iraqi family, even attacks.
So, when he visited this time, Scott adopted Iraqi garb. But one thing he did not catch was his gold wedding ring. In this region of the world, a band of gold is normally worn by women, and silver by men. Amal Selman, the diary writer and daughter of matriarch Karima, noticed. And she was ready to fix his disguise, says Scott. As he got up to leave, Amal made an offer, half in jest: Would Scott exchange his gold ring for one of her silver ones?
"I took off my ring, and began to explain that this was not just any normal piece of jewelry," says Scott. He showed the family his initials, the date of his marriage, and then the engraved words chosen by his wife: "Fortune Favours [sic] the Brave."
"Do you still want to trade?" Scott offered to Amal, in turn. "No, no, of course not!" she replied, slipping her silver ring back on her finger.
• Besigye's Back: Staff writer Abraham McLaughlin was in Uganda last month when opposition figure Kizza Besigye arrived back in the country for the first time in five years. In fact, he was riding a motorcycle taxi when he suddenly found himself in the middle of Mr. Besigye's motorcade. "I glanced in the window as we passed and he was sitting there," says Abe. While people had come out to line the sidewalks to see his return, the mood was subdued. "I think people came out to show their support but didn't want to be too enthusiastic lest they attract the attention of the police."
David Clark Scott