Reporters on the Job

• FROM SPY TO SPECIAL FRIEND: The tone of John Phillips's interview was set when he first contacted the brother of Bosnian Serb fugitive Radovan Karadzic (page 7). Luka Karadzic asked if John was a spy.

"After reassuring him that I was a humble scribe, the interview was set up. But Luka's concerns didn't end. He decided that we'd meet in my Belgrade Hotel, a not-so-subtle message to me that if he didn't like the interview, he knew where to find me."

The two settled at a table in the hotel lounge where a piano player was singing old romantic Russian songs in the corner. "He's a big, burly man, who sprinkled the conversation with statements like 'I could break this bottle on your face if I wanted to.' And at one point, he screamed at the piano player to shut up until our interview was over.

He finally settled down and in the end was loose enough to crack some jokes, and said that we could 'build a special relationship.' I asked him what that meant, and he offered to arrange to have me be among the first journalists to receive the communiqués issued by his brother."

• A FATHER'S PERSPECTIVE: After visiting the site of an Israeli F-16 strike in Bethlehem yesterday (page 1), Monitor correspondent Cameron Barr's interpreter, a Palestinian, mentioned that he had seen the missiles hit their target from the roof of his parents' house. He went on to say that "anyone who can leave this place and doesn't is a criminal in relation to his children," the interpreter said. But, of course, this man has the means to leave and doesn't. Or at least he hasn't yet.

Cameron says he is still thinking about his interpreter's words. The other night a boom reverberated through Jerusalem. It was the sound of a suicide bomber detonating his explosives. Cameron's 2-year-old mused aloud: "That's not a firecracker."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot
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