BEIRUT, Lebanon — US actor George Clooney has not only fallen in love with and asked Lebanese-born British attorney Amal Alamuddin to marry him, but the news has dazzled all of Lebanon, a country mired in instability, ethnic and religious divisions and political and social crises.
Not a day goes by without the local media mentioning the relationship between the attorney and the actor, a situation that has emerged as comforting and relaxing for a society accustomed to more violent news far removed from the pages of romance and people magazines.
Before the wedding announcement, Alamuddin, who was born in Beirut in 1978, was little-known among her countrymen, given that she emigrated with her parents to Great Britain when she was still a girl. There, she studied law at Oxford University and later moved to New York, where she specialized in international law and human rights.
As an attorney, some of the best-known cases on which she has worked have been those involving Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who has been imprisoned for years.
Her father Ramzi was a professor of tourism at Beirut's American University and the owner of the Comet travel agency.
Her mother Baria, a well-known journalist, is the person in charge of the international page of pan-Arab daily Al Yahat, as well as a former collaborator with Lebanon's English-language Daily Star newspaper and the weekly Al Hawadeh.
The Alamuddins belong to the Druze community - which comprises between 7 and 10 percent of the population of Lebanon - and, according to what members of that Muslim community told Efe, are part of the mid-level elite.