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Reporters on the Job

April 24, 2007



Living in the Line of Fire: Today's story about a mother and her two sons killed by a US helicopter strike in a Baghdad neighborhood (see story) originated with the mother's neighbor – who is a Monitor employee. He witnessed the events described in the story and has lived the growing division between Sunnis and Shiites in the area. When he arrived at work the following day, he told correspondent Sam Dagher what had happened. He said the whole neighborhood was very angry about the incident. Coincidentally, Sam was embedded last month with the US forces in the neighborhood. So he knew the American soldiers and called them to talk about the attack.

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The Monitor offered to move their Iraqi employee to a safer place. But he declined. "He said that he's used to the risks," says Sam. "If he feels threatened, he stays a few days elsewhere with relatives. Besides, he said, 'It's dangerous everywhere now.' "

Discovering Dissent: Correspondent Rob Crilly was taking the pulse of Sudanese public opinion. But in a country where dissent is seldom tolerated, few people are willing to discuss their views openly. But that wasn't the case outside the Ansar mosque in the city of Omdurman on the far side of the Nile from the capital, Khartoum (see story). "I was looking for a particular individual, who wasn't home. It was Friday, so we tried the local mosque. He wasn't there either, but as a stream of men dressed in billowing white jalabiyas left the mosque, they told me about the sermon they'd just heard," says Rob.

The imam, he was told, had expressed gratitude that the governing political party had just lost a student election at the university. He also railed about the injustice of the government that had just fired some of their political opponents.

David Clark Scott
World editor

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