Reporters on the Job
TAXI! TAXI! TAXI! For today's story about Colombia's urban warfare (page 7), the Monitor's Howard LaFranchi decided to visit one of Bogota's neighborhoods where some of the guerrillas' "militias" reportedly live. But he had a hard time getting there.
"It took me four taxis before I finally got one willing to go to the Cuidad Bolivar neighborhood. The first one pulled over and politely asked me to get out when I said where I wanted to go. The second said sorry, but his lunch hour was coming up. The third said I should only go there with a taxi with a radio to call for help in the case of trouble. Finally the fourth guy, Renaldo, said he didn't like the idea, but he wanted the work. We were together for four hours and I got him back safely."
GOD WILLING: How serious do Saudi Islamists take their religion? Quite. Twice the Monitor's Scott Peterson was asked to convert to Islam (page 8). "We would like it very much if you would become a Muslim," said one Saudi source after a long interview, pushing some literature into his hand. Scott answered "inshallah," (God willing) but said it with a smile to indicate that the chances were small.
ENTREE TO THE CLUB: The street corner clubs of Liberia (page 1) are filled with unemployed men who still have "so much dignity that it is inspiring," says the Monitor's Danna Harman. Many of them have university degrees and carry around their certificates. A fair number get dressed up in ties and suits to come over to the clubs. And they take the debate seriously, with moderators, and rules, and tea breaks in between rounds.
When Danna showed up at the soccer club, she was asked about the prospects for the Senegal-Denmark game. "Actually I had no idea in the world. I don't follow soccer. But I told them I'd interviewed George Weah, the African star. They were well impressed. There was even a hushed moment of respect for me, which is big as these club members are never silent."