Reporters on the Job

China Underground: Correspondent Geoff Pingree has been visiting Spain for the past 15 or 20 years. But Tuesday's story was a revelation for him. "Like most Spaniards, I have walked through the Plaza de España hundreds of times. It's a central plaza in Madrid, with a big fountain and statues of Don Quixote and a Spanish monarch. Youths go there at night to make out. It's a Spanish icon," says Geoff.

What's striking is what he discovered underneath this quintessentially Spanish spot (this page). "Down a set of stairs that leads to an underground parking garage is another world. If you go left, down a long corridor lit by fluorescent lights, you'll find an all-Chinese world of stores, restaurants, and cafes. Everyone is speaking Mandarin, and the signs are in Mandarin with Spanish underneath," he says. "In the five hours I was there, I saw four Spaniards, and hundreds of Chinese. It's Spain on top and China underneath," says Geoff.

Back to Rabin's Days: Tuesday's story about the growing rhetoric by far-right Israelis branding Prime Minister Ariel Sharon a "Nazi collaborator" for his plan to pull troops out of Gaza (page 1), stirred some memories for correspondent Ben Lynfield.

"Shortly before [Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin was assassinated, a poster came out that depicted him in an SS uniform. Many believe that this poster was produced by a Shin Bet agent who was later revealed to have penetrated the far right and established his own organization. Today, some on the right insist that the Shin Bet [the Israeli domestic intelligence service] was responsible for Rabin's death."

Ben notes that no one is tying the criticism of Sharon to the Shin Bet.

David Clark Scott
World editor

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to Reporters on the Job
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today