All posts by loumayalesali2018

The agony of Syrian journalists

Loumay Alesali
Medill Reports

Issam Khoury has been detained, interrogated, beaten and tortured, and forced to flee his country because of his journalism and political activism over the last 15 years in Syria, a country torn apart by revolution and the reprisals of a brutal regime led by Bashar al-Assad.

Hundreds of articles, many on freedom and human rights, and two novels that Khoury wrote put him in the radar of al-Assad and his secret police and provoked a series of interrogations throughout the years that ended with his detention in 2012.
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Local blogger on healthy food in Chicago and beyond

Loumay Alesali
Medill Reports

From Havana to Athens to Lima and many more destinations around the world, Sapna the Chicago vegetarian traveler, blogger and Instagrammer delivers international journeys to people’s fingertips with one click, or swipe.

She started her blog, vegetariantourist.com, six years ago to share her traveling experiences with people and help them find the best of food out there in the U.S. and anywhere abroad. Her 15,000 followers on Instagram turn to her when they want to find restaurants that accommodate their vegetarian and gluten free dietary needs. Sapna’s goal is to make it easier for people to experiment with food while traveling and escape the daunting fear of food restriction.
“It makes places less scary, so that you yourself can feel comfortable, like okay I’ve seen all these pictures on Instagram or I’ve read a couple of blogs and people said it’s okay not to worry,” Sapna said.
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The private sector brings change to Cuba

Loumay Alesali
Medill Reports

For years, Luis Manuel Rodriguez made vaccines for a living. He liked his job, but he didn’t earn enough to support his family and improve his life. Attracted by the money available in the tourist industry, he quit his job as a chemical engineer and became a waiter in a popular brewpub.

Eight years later, the brewpub thrives in the beautifully restored Plaza Vieja in Old Havana, where tourists keep the convertible Cuban currency flowing in restaurants and bars.

It is only the tourism sector, Rodriguez said, that holds out the possibility of a living wage.

“Our economy is on the bottom,” he said.

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Bringing 18th century elegance to the 21st century

By Loumay Alesali
Medill Reports

Antique furniture restoration is the business that Ziggy Osak started after turning his hobby into a passionate career.

He opened his first workshop at his home garage in Evanston in 1984, then started his first shop on Main Street in Evanston in 1987. The store is named Evanstonia because Osak loves the town and its abundance of Oak trees.

Osak painstakingly restores furniture for people to use again in their daily lives. He also thinks he is saving trees from being cut down to make new furniture, along preserving fine antiques for new generations. Continue reading