Reporters on the Job

Going to Court in Morocco: Staff writer Jill Carroll had heard there would be a trail of 50 suspected terrorists in Morocco (see story). But when she checked with officials at the Rabat courthouse the day before the scheduled March 23 trial, she was told, "Trial? What trial? Surely, she was mistaken."

The next morning, one of the local papers declared on the front page that the trial was, in fact, on. She raced to the courthouse and squeezed in with the wives, mothers, and lawyers of the accused, as well as a dozen journalists.

"There were secret police in plain clothes wedged in among us," says Jill. "The women – all in full hijab with their faces half covered – were crying and waving as the men were ushered in. We sat right next to the glass box that housed the suspects. The women kind of stirred the men up. They were shouting in French at times, because they saw the foreign correspondents in the courtroom. When the judge decided to delay the trial, everyone became quite emotional, and we were all pushed out into the hallway."

Jill was also surprised at how strong the French influence remains. The trial, for example, was on Friday. Unlike much of the Arab world where the Muslim day of rest is Friday, Morocco works a Monday through Friday week.

French Frustration: As staff writer Robert Marquand interviewed French youths in the Gare du Nord rail station, he was struck by the sense of frustration. "Many said that they are depicted mainly as rioters, that attention is paid to them mostly when they act out. While most of the kids my interpreter and I talked with over several hours were polite and articulate, many would not talk," says Bob. "Those who did said they couldn't get jobs and that the gap between their lives and the lives of other Parisians is widening (see story)."

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