Reporters on the Job

CROSSING THE LINE: Journalists are supposed to stand on the sidelines in conflicts, watching. But sometimes, they can't help but being pulled in.

Hearing that European diplomats had entered the besieged village of Aracinovo for negotiations with the rebels, Arie Farnam hurried to the scene only to find the road blocked by a crowd of angry Macedonian civilians. The police were just leaving as she arrived (page 7).

"A British journalist was being harassed and pushed backward roughly by a group of men, who shouted 'Smash his cameras!' " Arie says. She stared at a group of four or five Macedonian journalists who stood by looking bored, with cameras pointed elsewhere. "Then, to my horror, the crowd turned on me," Arie says. "Someone twisted my arm behind me, and I was propelled back down the road."

That evening, when anti-Western riots turned violent, she hid in her hotel room with the lights off, listening to machine-gun fire reverberate across the city.

LIVING ON THE EDGE: The Monitor's Scott Baldauf had visited a half-dozen slum neighborhoods in and around Bombay (page 9), when a journalist colleague suggested that they go see the planes land at Bombay's Sahar International Airport. The pilots, the friend said, often complained about approaching Bombay, as the ever-growing slum shacks around the airport come dangerously close to their wingtips or landing gear.

On the way home, Scott's driver, Asfaq, turned to him and said, "Sir, that area near the airport, that is my home." Since Asfaq moved into his one-room shack with his wife and infant son in 1995,he has heard numerous politicians promising to protect this neighborhood from demolition, while others promised to tear it down. Which side did he believe, Scott asked. "None," he replied. "They all talk, but nothing ever happens."

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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