Reporters on the Job: It was particularly refreshing for me to see internally displaced people coming back to Diyala.
When I was in Diyala in 2006 as an embedded reporter, I saw one village disappear literally overnight. The residents had seemed relatively optimistic that they could hold their own against Al Qaeda in Iraq. But when a local leader was decapitated everyone fled the village within days. Some of the residents even destroyed their homes so that the insurgents couldn’t use them. At the time, it was hard to believe that the situation would ever improve.
While there’s still a hard road ahead in Diyala, in places like Hadi Sadoun hopelessness is no longer the pervasive emotion (read the Monitor's report here). People seemed to feel like the threats and challenges still facing them are surmountable.