During her very first American TV interview with NBC’s Cynthia McFadden, Amal Clooney allowed cameras to follow her during a trip to the U.S. Capitol. She also discussed a case she’s currently working on that will completely change how we view the Maldives.
“I think it’s important for tourists to know the facts of what’s happening in the Maldives,” Amal told McFadden. “I don’t think people realize that there’s a flogging taking place a kilometer away when they’re sunbathing in their resort.”
The human rights lawyer is fighting back against the political repression that’s taking place in the country by representing former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed. Her client is currently in prison, for a terrorism conviction both the U.S. and State Department believe to be false.
That’s why, during her visit to the U.S. Capitol, she aimed to convince lawmakers to introduce a congressional resolution that will penalize the Maldives’ current government regime for their illegal actions.
Despite the fact that Clooney earned her place as a well-established lawyer over the last 15 years, she was introduced to a different kind of fame after marrying George Clooney in 2015. During the interview, McFadden mentioned this and asked if Amal aims to use her popularity for good like Angelina Jolie.
“I think it’s wonderful celebrities would choose to spend their time or energy or the spotlight that they have to raise awareness about these causes,” the lawyer responded. “I don’t really see myself in the same way because I’m still doing the same job that I used to do before. So if there’s more attention paid, for whatever reason, to that, then I think that’s good.”
By using her voice and fame for good, Amal wants to get Americans to care about what’s happening in the Maldives.
“At the moment the Maldives has the highest rate of ISIS fighters being recruited from that country per capita in the world,” she said. “So if you look at the State Department reports and the U.N. reports, the figures are at least 200 fighters who have gone to Iraq and Syria from the Maldives.”
Just last September, Amal’s life was at risk when she went to meet her client in the Maldives. Before her arrival, Nasheed’s local co-counsel was attacked and suffered a stab wound to the head. Amal believes this may have served as a threat.
“I think that’s a very plausible interpretation given the timing,” she stated. “I mean, it wasn’t the most comfortable position to be in, but you know, I was determined to go. It meant a lot to me to meet Nasheed, who I had read about and I considered a hero.”
Notwithstanding, Amal wants to channel her fame to bring such issues to light, to inform the masses of what’s actually going on in the world.
“I think there is a certain responsibility that comes with [fame],” she said. “And you know, I think I’m exercising it in appropriate manner by continuing to do this kind of work, and engaging with the media on issues that I think are important.”