Reporters on the Job

TWO THUMBS UP: For today's piece about trends in Pakistani and Indian cinematic tastes (page 1), the Monitor's Scott Baldauf naturally had to spend some time at the movies. "I took a rickshaw to get to the Lahore [Pakistan] cinema tocatch the 7 o'clock showing of'Tere Pyar Main.' My driver, Siddiq, insisted on parking his rickshaw and joining me. I didn't realize he also expected me to pay for his ticket, which at 70 cents constituted a cheap date." Three hours later, on the bone-jarring ride home, Siddiq showed his appreciation, telling Scott: "This is excellent movie, sir." "I asked him if he thought the Indian people, and particularly Indian soldiers, were really as bad as the movie portrayed them to be. Siddiq shook his head. 'No sir, Hindustan is good country.' Score one for independent thinkers."

PSSSST. It WORKS! Colombia's justice system is notoriously slow. So Martin Hodgson's expectations weren't very high when he visited one of the 19 mediation centers in the country (page 7). As he interviewed people standing in a long line outside the one-story colonial building in Bogotá, he found they'd all been sent by neighbors or family members. "They don't do any advertising. It's all by word of mouth. That's the best endorsement any project can hope for," he says.

INTO AN ANGOLAN SLUM: The Monitor's Danna Harman found today's story about slum residents protesting a difficult story, both professionally and personally. "The government was very touchy about this story. A BBC reporter had been in the Boavista slum a few days before, and the police had kicked him out. Twice I was stopped by government officials asking me what I was doing there," she says.

While Danna has seen poverty and amputees in Africa, she was moved to tears by one small boy. "He was hobbling on a wooden crutch too big for him and looking through the rubble of his toppled house for something. It hurt my heart to watch," she says. "But even with so much sadness in Angola, the fact that there is even a small sign of civilian activism, means you can't say there's no hope."


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