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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 04:32 PM
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Nightline hosted the George Allen talkathon last night -- Tonight, ...
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Jan. 28, 2005

For all the excitement, anticipation and fear leading up to the Iraqi vote on Sunday, the residents of Falluja, Iraq, aren't exactly caught up in the moment. They're trying to figure out how to live in the virtual prison that their city has become. A base for the insurgency for months, U.S. Marines defeated those forces and now have become the gatekeepers to make sure none of them return as they help residents back in. And that's the bittersweet irony, the same forces that helped destroy their homes in battle with the insurgents are now helping to rebuild them.

Correspondent Don Dahler and Nightline producer James Blue have been getting one of the first comprehensive looks at Falluja in the aftermath of months of fighting that tore the city apart. Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and his forces had taken over the city insinuating themselves into every inch of the community -- from the sacred mosques to people's homes -- and had gained a lot of support from the local population. But the grisly killings of four American contractors last March kicked off a wave of American force that was ultimately too much for the insurgents and the city. By the end, there were few residents left inside. They're finally being let back in and Don and James have had rare access to the town, the residents and the U.S. Marines who are now the gatekeepers.

David Wright brings us another report from ABC's "Where Things Stand" series. Ten Iraqi journalists traveled through 23 Iraqi cities in January to bring us an update on how Iraqis are dealing with daily life. What do they have at this point? What do they need and what are they looking forward to? Given the level of violence directed at Western journalists (Americans in particular), it is one of the only ways we can gather important information about what's happening in Iraq these days. Much of the reporting comes from military embeds which is useful, but not the whole story. Tonight, David will focus on change -- what has changed for people in Iraq and what they feel needs to change.

The elections this Sunday will represent some kind of step forward for the Iraqi people. Nobody knows what will happen next. But the country's past is as important for Iraqis as its future. Their history gives them an identity that is important to preserve. Sadly, their written history is in jeopardy. The National Library and Archives were badly ransacked and burned in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion. Pledges of support and assistance came quickly from the U.S. government, but almost two years later, the director of the library says the promises were mostly hollow. David Wright takes a look at Iraqis trying to preserve an national treasure for future generations.

We hope you'll join us.

Gerry Holmes & the Nightline Staff
Senior Producer
ABC News Washington bureau
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