Reporters on the Job

MOBBED IN GAZA: The Monitor's Cameron Barr had just checked into a hotel in Gaza City Monday night when Israeli helicopters fired on a car, and then a crowd of people who gathered near the Nusseriat refugee camp (this page). When he and a colleague arrived on the scene about an hour after the attack, "there were a lot of people clustered around the car that had been hit. We had no translator, and only a smattering of Arabic between us.

"We identified ourselves as journalists. But the crowd - a mass of boys and men - was very agitated, and we couldn't tell what they wanted. One guy came up to us and shoved a piece of flesh from one of the victims at us.

"The mood was somewhat hostile, a kind of crazed mob curiosity," says Cameron. He decided to leave when the men starting to pull on their shirts, and even tugged the hair of his European colleague. "They tried to pull open the doors as we got into the car to leave.

"It was one of those rare situations that if someone had asked me my nationality, I was prepared to say I was Canadian (at least by marriage), not American," he says.

BLEAK BAKU: Reporter Fred Weir has been to Baku, Azerbaijan, before. And he's impressed by some of the plans and progress made since the Soviet days (page 7). But he left shaking his head at the ugliness on display. "It could be a great vacation spot. It has beautiful beaches, mountains in the background, a potentially very lovely place - except for the oil derricks.

"As you leave the city, as far as the eye can see in all directions, there are thousands of rusting oil derricks. Its one of the first places in the world where oil exploration was developed. Some of the derricks date back to the 19th century. What's left is a forest of steel and muddy, slimy pools."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot
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