Why would an article on Amal Clooney, a human rights lawyer, appear in a column which has mainly been a critical take on culture and arts issues of the day? For the uninitiated, Amal Clooney is now a much-publicized star human rights lawyer, the emphasis being on the word ‘star.’
Well, the simplest explanation to the question posed in the preceding paragraph is that whichever way one might cut it, Amal Clooney the person is defined these days in terms of the arts, or at least things and persons that are connected to the arts.
For the further uninitiated, Amal Clooney was here in Colombo Sri Lanka just the other day, on her way to defend Mr. Nasheed, the former President of the Maldives, who is now imprisoned for various alleged offenses against the Maldivian State.
Why does a human rights lawyer (Amal Clooney), however successful she’s supposed to have been, be given the opportunity to meet Prime Ministers and ambassadors and be afforded press events with the country’s journalists?
She was given a special press opportunity to meet Sri Lankan journalists, and also met Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe and the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Athul Keshap.
Why does a human rights lawyer, however successful she’s supposed to have been, be given the opportunity to meet Prime Ministers and ambassadors and be afforded press events with the country’s journalists?
The short answer to this is that it is because this lady’s husband is heartthrob Hollywood actor, George Clooney. Many readers would recall that there was a controversy when a story published in a leading wire service once referred to the lady in question as ‘George Clooney’s wife’ who is prosecuting a human rights case. A great fuss was eventually made of this on Twitter, calling the wire service story majorly sexist. The curious thing is that this wire service was correct in the way that most people involved in that controversy would not want to acknowledge.
There are hardly any posts about the accomplished human rights lawyer on the Internet, on account of her work before she became Mrs. George Clooney. There is no doubt that she was an excellent lawyer with many accomplishments even before she took her husband’s name Clooney. But the name hardly appeared in the Internet on account of that before she met George Clooney, and there was no Amal Jayasinghe to tell her ‘I’m Amal too!’.
(Well that’s just an aside, but here is your gossip on that: When Ms. Clooney met with journalists in Colombo, she was introduced to Amal Jayasinghe of AFP who said something to the effect that he’s her namesake. That news and was greeted with oohs and aahs by the stellar human rights lawyer, Ms. Clooney.)
So curiously this is an ‘arts’ story after all, because it was George Clooney’s acting art and Hollywood persona it seems, that garnered the attention for Ms. Clooney to be able to meet Prime Ministers and ambassadors on trips abroad. It is fairly certain, judging by Ms. Clooney’s pre-marriage publicity, that she would have got nowhere near the Sri Lanka Prime Minister before she got married to George Clooney.
The publicity that seems to surround her now seems to detract from her work as a human rights lawyer, but her law firm in London must be happy, because whatever they touch now garners some publicity and perhaps public sympathy as well.
Unfortunately, if one does a search for Ms. Clooney these days the most number of stories that the surfer would read would be about her bunions, which were apparently exposed as she wore her sandals, and her great fashion sense, and her red dress or maroon dress or whatever. Makes us wonder whether this is what the Sri Lankan journalists talked about with her when they met her a few weeks back. Or did they simply ask, so how is George, and be done with it?
Mrs. Clooney’s visit to Sri Lanka seems to be quite the metaphor for what’s happening currently in this country as well. Why Ms. Clooney’s visit here is made into a pantomime may be called the art of the absurd. That art is being enacted already everyday with regard to this country now.
There is no substance in government in this country. Foreign dignitaries tell us that we are doing well, and the President is like some wound up toy prancing around to the tune of the foreign powers, when the toy’s spring is released. But it’s all well documented and dished up in the media as if we should be enlightened by every word of it. Ditto with the visit of Ms. Clooney. Now if you want to look for some real art here, sorry, we have to either text or tweet him, and somehow find Mr. Clooney.