Reporters on the Job
• A General Returns : Reporter Nicholas Blanford says that his Christian neighborhood in Beirut has been "agog" over Gen. Michel Aoun's return to Lebanon (this page). "There are posters of him all over the district, comparing his return to Charles de Gaulle's triumphant entry into Paris in 1944."
When Mr. Aoun arrived at Martyrs' Square in Beirut Saturday, he gave a speech from behind a bulletproof glass screen, which is rare for politicians here. "That and the sight of overweight bodyguards puffing alongside his vehicle as he arrived reinforced the impression that this is a man who has his eye on the presidential palace," says Nick.
Still, the crowd - maybe 25,000 - were pleased to see him. "It was striking that most of them were young, too young to remember Aoun's campaigns at the end of the civil war, which cost so many lives," he says.
• Reporting on a Full Stomach: Reporter Andreas Tzortzis met the two subjects of his story on World War II veterans (page 12) at a gathering of former German soldiers at the house of Friedrich Paarmann. "After an excellent and intensely northern German lunch [potatoes, cabbage, pudding, etc.] prepared by his wife, we sat down to talk. I was so full, I was having trouble staying awake. When Mrs. Paarmann suggested coffee, I leapt at the offer. But she arrived with apple cake and whipped cream, too. It reminded me of visits to my Greek relatives' house: 'What's the matter? Eat, Andreas, eat.' "
Beyond the generous hospitality, Andreas was struck by how little attention has been given to the role of the ordinary Wehrmacht soldier. "Every other aspect of the war has been discussed in great detail here," he says. "But these guys are 'grandpa' in German society today: simple, hardworking men who were pulled into the war. But the attitude is that 'we don't need to discuss what Grandpa did. Let's look forward.' "
David Clark Scott