Reporters on the Job

PUBLIC-RELATIONS SIDE OF WAR: Elizabeth Rubin says the Macedonians - especially the well-educated - feel they have lost the public-relations side of the war. A young journalist, Marina, told Elizabeth: "The Albanians have figured out how to be appealing because they know they are the favorite child. The Macedonians know they're not liked, so they are aggressive and angry."

A day later, Elizabeth went to an Albanian village where a young boy had been killed by armed villagers. The family invited the journalists in to take pictures of their boy and of their wagon loaded with all their belongings.

Elizabeth then traveled to a Macedonian village where several soldiers had been killed in an ambush by Albanian rebels. As her group reached the village, they were confronted by armed soldiers who were friendly until he realized they were journalists. "One began kicking the car and bashing it with his Kalashnikov," Elizabeth says. "He became angrier and angrier, cursing the West, cursing America, cursing journalists."

CIRCLE, SQUARED: Ben Lynfield remembers covering Palestinian reactions to the Oslo Agreement at Orient House and the incredulity of people when Israeli Prime Minister Rabin and Palestinian leader Arafat shook hands in September 1993. "There was a celebratory atmosphere, with little kids holding Palestinian flags, and carnations raining down from the roof of the building," Ben says.

That day, he interviewed Zuheira Kamal (today's story, page 8). She was with a little boy who was holding a Palestinian flag. "Though she spoke of hope, and a new beginning, words didn't really matter because she was so happy," Ben says. "Interviewing her on the street after Orient House was occupied and the Palestinian flag was lowered was squaring a circle, with despair replacing hope, coercion replacing negotiation."

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