Reporters on the Job

Mick Tsikas

Unprecedented Looting: Our correspondent in Harare, Zimbabwe, who can't be identified for his own protection, recalls his first impressions of the soldiers who brought current President Robert Mugabe to power in 1980 (see story).

"When I was growing up in rural areas, guerrilla soldiers would come to eat at our house and spend the night. We admired them, we wanted to be soldiers like them some day. They were so disciplined. They had revolutionary songs that said you don't loot someone's property, you don't take what you can't pay for. Even after the revolution in the 1980s, the soldiers who were recruited later maintained that same level of discipline," our correspondent says.

"So it was a shock for me, and not just for me but for many people, to see soldiers rioting. This was the first time in Zimbabwe's history that soldiers have rioted. We were shaken," he says.

Iraq, Then and Now: Correspondent Jane Arraf went to Nimrud, Iraq, in the late 1990s and talked to Iraqi archaeologists who had discovered the ancient royal Assyrian tombs in 1989.

"They had held in their hands a gold headdress, earrings, and amulets laid to rest with Assyrian queens. Even more than oil, Iraqis believe that their history is their greatest wealth and they guard it as closely," says Jane. "Going to archaeological sites required not just the usual information ministry officials but culture ministry officials, and the secret police. The stories were always worth the perseverance it took," she says.

"In 2003, I was at the brief re-opening of the Iraq Museum where the treasures of Nimrud were displayed. When gunfire broke out near the museum a couple of hours later it was hastily closed. We're still waiting for it to reopen," she says (see story).

David Clark Scott

World editor

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