Eight months after revolutionaries took control of Misurata, a strategic and bloody battlefield in Libya’s uprising against former leader Moammar Gaddafi, people are going about their lives once more. Shops and schools have reopened, and a few valiant souls are beginning to patch up the sooty skeletons of buildings shattered by months of fighting.
But Misurata, 131 miles east of Tripoli, has not quite gone back to being a sleepy coastal city. Some former rebel fighters like to block the main street with trucks loaded with missiles so they can have races, executing screeching hand brake turns while irritated motorists are forced onto back streets. And the thousands who died here will not soon be forgotten, as ubiquitous memorials to fallen sons, fathers and colleagues testify.
The latest addition to this city is fittingly macabre. Crammed between bomb-blasted apartment blocks is a makeshift museum of last year’s war and its spoils, its contents filling a former computer center, and spilling out of the building to the sidewalk and the street.