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Maria Ressa, a martyr?

May 13, 2019 - Monday 4:05 AM by JD Vergara

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I have never been a fan of George Clooney. I have a short list of favorite foreign actors and they are nerds like Michael J. Fox and Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. For not being a nerd, George Clooney is out of my list. But together with his wife Amal, Clooney is putting his conscience to good work by trying to change the world in the area of justice. “Amal and I looked at what we could bring together to try and change things. Many governments are using the judicial system to commit crimes, basically, and they are using that and saying, OK, they’re found guilty. And the judge isn’t even a lawyer,” he said.

What exactly do Clooney and Amal do? Well, they launched a software that translates an ongoing trial all over the world and makes a judgment on the judicial system itself. He calls it “democratizing trial watching” -- “our version is to democratize trial watching by being able to deputize people to go in and record, either on an app which we have or whatever, what is going on. So that we can have translations, real-time information and ultimately try to build a justice index of 194 countries, and saying, here is where we stand.”

Let’s just say that Clooney is able to record a judicial proceeding, which in most jurisdictions is not allowed, what would he do with the judicial injustice he finds? Does he go to the International Criminal Court of Justice and charge the erring country for that? Clooney says, “Then I can say, ‘Now, we are telling you what or who that is. And either you are going to do something about it or I am going to hold a press conference and say that you are helping finance warlords.” And here’s the bottom line for George Clooney. He judges the judicial systems of 194 countries and those who are found guilty will be tried by publicity. Sounds cute.

What about Maria Ressa? George Clooney found a martyr in her: “Maria Ressa is the bravest of them all right now because she keeps going back (to the Philippines), risking not only jail time, but her life, in a real serious way. Rappler is a pretty amazing thing and she was doing everything live while we were there. She is that version of us at our best, holding truth to power. So she should be supported by all of us as loudly and as often as possible.” To Clooney’s eyes, Maria Ressa could have settled nicely in the US but she left all those privileges and came to the Philippines to die for the cause of press freedom. Whoa!

Hollywood actors like George Clooney are typical. After becoming rich and famous, they grow a conscience and begin to assume a “messiah” persona. They scan the world for injustices and dive in with their preconceived solutions, unmindful that what they usually bring in are from certain pet ideologies that they think the world should adopt. They think they have a solution and know exactly what will bring peace in the world and hence are so passionate about the prospect.

I’m glad that George Clooney is just a Hollywood actor and could only go to the media for his cause. Imagine if he is like George Soros who can actually fuel resources to move things around internationally. As for “ER”, I didn’t watch it for George Clooney but for the beautiful doctors and nurses in the show. For a quick while, it got me thinking of becoming a doctor. But I’m glad I became a lawyer instead.