Reporters on the Job

CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY: As he waded into the crowd of jihadis in Lahore, led by a Pakistani journalist, the Monitor's Scott Baldauf started to get the vague feeling that coming there was not such a good idea (this page). After all, he says, the US government had labeled this group as "terrorists." And then there was the language.

"I could snatches of Urdu phrases that should have sent me running, things like 'kafir' (infidel) and 'Tony Blair kutta' (Tony Blair the dog) and most chillingly, 'mar dalenge' (we will crush them)," Scott says. "But my mood changed when I saw a familiar face, Yahya Mujahid. He was the former spokesman for the militant group Lashkar-i Tayyaba, and now does the same job for the political party, Jamaat ud-Dawa."

"Following the advice of my colleague and guide, Arif Jamal, I avoided calling Jamaat a terrorist group. Instead I mentioned that the Americans and Indians call Jamaat a terrorist group. There's no purpose in using fighting words if it's not your job to fight."

A CHILD'S EYE VIEW: Monitor contributor Nicole Itano went to see a group of orphans in Monrovia, Liberia, that she first visited about a week ago (this page). She was struck by how good-natured the children were despite their ongoing hardships. "They had just been given some high-energy biscuits when I got there," Nicole says. "The kids ate their two-day ration right away, they were so hungry."

Nicole says the children had walked for two days from their newly built orphanage to get to their current home in a government building. While it might have been safer, it was run down. Still, the kids were making the best of it, with the older ones helping the younger. "But they told me that all the toys donated to their orphanage had been stolen - including a new shipment of bicycles."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

Cultural snapshot

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