Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Reporters on the Job

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Reporters on the Job

Article excerpt

* Baghdad Wedding Bells: Reporting has become a pretty grim task in Baghdad, says correspondent Annia Ciezadlo. "Everywhere you go, people talk about relatives killed, kidnapped, or thrown in prison. They're afraid to talk to you, and often beg you not to use their names."

But Annia noted one distinct exception to the rule: the marriage bureau (page 1). "It's the happiest place in Iraq," she says. "In the hallways, happy families gather to celebrate. Iraqi policewomen joke with the families, ushering young couples in and out of the judges' office for the quick, no-nonsense ceremony that constitutes the civil aspect of marriage in Iraq. After the ceremony, according to Iraqi tradition, the newlyweds' female relatives pass out candy to any and all people present - the judge, the police, the foreign journalists. Sometimes, as the ceremony concludes, the women break out in to loud trills of happiness, another Arab wedding tradition. I found my visit to the marriage bureau to be almost surreal: Outside, everybody wants to talk about how the situation in Iraq is going from bad to worse. Inside, all anybody wanted to talk about was how much better things are becoming."

* Where's the Noodle Shop? When correspondent Simon Montlake traveled from Thailand to the site of a proposed dam in Laos (page 7), he noted how a tangle of electric cables and consumer advertisements gave way to modest houses and rice paddies. …

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