Reporters on the Job
• Outpost of Tyranny? Staff writer Dan Murphy found covering the pro-democracy demonstrations in Cairo Wednesday a disturbing experience. A small group of about 150 middle-class, mixed-gender protesters gathered on the steps of the Egyptian journalists' union hall. Soon, bus loads of President Mubarak supporters arrived with sticks (this page). "I was on the steps when these big male Mubarak supporters arrived. The riot police slowly withdrew, allowing them to get in front of the protesters. They began to move up the steps, beating people," says Dan. "I had a deadline approaching but I stayed longer than I intended because I found that if a foreigner got closer they would back off. No one laid a glove on me. An Egyptian freelancer for the Los Angeles Times was beaten, but not seriously injured."
It reminded Dan of Condoleeza Rice's remarks to Congress in January about "outposts of tyranny." "If a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society," Ms. Rice said. "We cannot rest until every person living in a 'fear society' has finally won their freedom."
• Iraqis Running the Show: Staff writer Scott Peterson has been out on two patrols in the Haifa Street area of Baghdad. This used to be a hot-bed of insurgent activity. Now it is is relatively quiet. "My first patrol was with a joint US-Iraq mission, but the second was purely Iraqis (page 1). Over the past two years, I have seen some Iraqi troops that were extremely poorly trained. But these are the cream of the crop," says Scott.
He also saw a new relationship between US and Iraqi troops. "Normally, you see the Iraqis asking the Americans for everything. Here, the dynamic is different. The US troops asked the Iraqis for an escort back to their base."
David Clark Scott