Reporters on the Job

The Christian Science Monitor, December 24, 2001 | Go to article overview

Reporters on the Job


A Christmas Carp: Arie Farnam arrived in the Czech Republic nine years ago, at Christmas time. Like most newcomers, she was mystified by the fish fascination (page 7) in this landlocked country. At first, she was suspicious that Czech carp might be another one of those dubious Central European specialties. But she now wishes Christmas carp came more often than once a year. Arie spends every November getting muddy in her Czech in-laws' pond, and often gets ice-cutting duty in the winter, when long axes are used to knock holes in the ice to reoxygenate the water.

Laidback But Listening ... hard: Philip Smucker is heading back to Cairo - maybe for a camel ride with his wife around the pyramids - for the holidays. He's looking forward to the respite, he says, but he's going to miss working with Afghan reporter Lutfullah Mashal. He says working with Mashal has been one of the most pleasant - and educational - aspects of his experience in Afghanistan. "My Afghan friend is the perfect, happy-go-lucky sidekick," Phil says. "He doesn't strike most people as an over-serious sleuth, so they tend to say more in his presence. I often come off as a far-too-serious, sometimes even bumbling American reporter in search of hard facts. My Afghan colleague, on the other hand, manages to pass himself off as a curious observer with no muckraking intentions. That's how we happened to overhear a deal being made with a Western-backed Afghan warlord for Al Qaeda members to leave Afghanistan (page 1). …

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