Abdel Hakim al-Hassadi seems unperturbed by the fact that someone blew up his car last night. "I was at evening prayer in the mosque when it happened," he says. An unknown assailant threw a grenade under the car, sending it into flames. "I believe it was a message," he adds. "If they wanted to kill me — they would do it in an open place." Then he offers his guests tea.
In post-Gaddafi Libya, where a weak, fledgling government means little security and a lot of uncertainty, life is still a little dicey. But to al-Hassadi, perhaps the most powerful man in the eastern Libyan city of Darnah, it's all part and parcel of moving forward, past the era of dictatorship and into something freer, and hopefully better. "After decades of destruction, it's impossible to change in a few hours or even a few years," he says. "But now we are free. Even the land has changed — it's growing new grass again."