Reporters on the Job

HOW SISTERS IN IRAQ COPE: Though the Rassam sisters have things a lot easier than most Iraqis, their current lives in Baghdad could hardly be more different from the comfortableprofessional existence they enjoyed in America (page 1). The Monitor's Peter Ford was impressed by how they cope with the adventure.

He says that one of the sisters arrived for an interview late, and irritated because her boss had insisted she be accompanied by an armed guard (the hotel in which her sister lives had been hit by a home made mortar that morning). Another kept apologizing to the photographer about her appearance: She had been in the middle of having her hair blow dried when the electricity went off. And the third was resigned to being unable to call her family in the US: All overseas calls from the cellphones issued to government contractors have been blocked to save money. "Amal is a grandmother and retiree," Peter says. "You have to admire her spirit in coming to Baghdad, even if she does say she was just knitting at home and getting jealous of her sisters."

MORAL QUALMS: The Monitor's Scott Baldauf says that reporting Friday's story about HIV/AIDS in Afghanistan (page 8), presented certain challenges unique to an Islamic society. "My driver told me that he has been a guerrilla fighter, and he's driven reporters into and out of Taliban ambushes. But he was never as nervous as the day we picked up a female prostitute outside a restaurant catering to foreigners." Still, as difficult as that was, Scott says it was more difficult to persuade his driver to help him find a young male prostitute. "He was worried about what other people would think of him. If he found a boy too quickly, people might think that he is a regular customer himself."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot

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