Reporters on the Job

SHOPPING FOR A QUOTE: For today's story on Israeli and Palestinian reaction to the renewal of the peace process (page 1), the Monitor's Cameron Barr, a European colleague, and their Palestinian interpreter visited Hebron to meet the family of a recent suicide bomber. After the interview, Cameron suggested a stop in one of the city's noted glass workshops, in part because he is on a search for the perfect tumbler. The tumblers were worth a field test, so Cameron bought a few.

The visitors couldn't resist stopping to watch a glass blower at work and Cameron couldn't resist asking the artisan whether he thought his creations were more durable than current peace efforts. That question yielded a quote for the story. Cameron's European colleague gave him a knowing look on the way back to their car. "Oh, I see what you are doing," he said. "Now you can expense the glasses."

For the record, Cameron assures his editors that the tumblers are on him.

A SURVIVOR'S STORY: For every compelling tale that gets in the paper, many are left in a reporter's notebook. In today's story about mass-grave sites in Iraq (page 7), the Monitor's Ilene Prusher interviewed five different people looking for relatives.

"One man, Ali Abdel Hassan, identified himself as a 'survivor.' When I asked him what he meant, he said he was rounded up in 1991 by Saddam's forces during the anti-Shiite crackdown.

"He told me that dozens of men were blindfolded and loaded onto buses. After driving for about half an hour, he said, 'We heard the shovels working. We were put on a hill in groups of about five. Then they started shooting.'

"The victims, most of them dead, were left in a ditch," says Ilene. "Hassan was shot in the thigh, but lay still in the ditch with the bodies and pretended to be dead. When the soldiers left, Hassan and three other men crept away. The bodies, including Hassan's younger brother, were not buried until later.

"The story reminded me of testimonies we've heard about the Holocaust, and it occurred to me that for the Iraqi people this was a sort of holocaust."

David Clark Scott
World editor


EVEREST MISSTEPS: In the Wednesday, May 28, issue (page 9), we gave the incorrect year for when the youngest person reached the summit of Mt. Everest. Mingkipa Sherpa, a 15-year-old Nepalese girl, accomplished the feat on May 22, 2003. The correct spelling of the oldest man to scale the peak is Yuichiro Miura.

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