Reporters on the Job

• A DIFFERENT RECEPTION: The last time Monitor correspondent Scott Peterson crossed the front line dividing rival Kurdish groups in northern Iraq was six years ago. At that time, the two sides were engaged in a civil war. He was treated with respect, but it was very tense as he interviewed soldiers on each side of this internal war. "I was passed from one surly crew of gunmen at the front, to another surly group on the other side," Scott remembers. But the two sides signed a cease-fire a few years ago, and now they're more focused on their common enemy: Saddam Hussein (page 1).

"The atmosphere on the front line between them is a different place. All the stones around the place are painted festively, in all sorts of colors," Scott says. And instead of seeing battle-hardened fighters, Scott says he was guided from one crew of sophisticated, tie-wearing Kurdish PR officials to another – with smiles all around.

• SPICE ISLAND SPLIT: Knowing who's who in a religiously divided city like Indonesia's Ambon (page 7) is tricky for outsiders, but second-nature to local Christians and Muslims. When interviewing two policemen about the near-riot outside a department store, reporter Simon Montlake was surprised that the young Christian woman who arranged the interview had invited both to her house without realizing that one was Muslim.

"It didn't emerge until after the interview and I thought it might make my fixer uncomfortable. But when I mentioned it, everyone just laughed," says Simon. The incident reinforced his feeling that peace and reconciliation stood a chance of succeeding in this region.

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot

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