The bohemian life of an artist in New York of Mariam Ghani, daughter of the Afghan president exiled in the Emirates


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History is written by the winners. Faced with the impending blitzkrieg victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan, its president Ashraf Ghani he packed his bags to flee the country as a symbol of the collapse of a failed country project. Ghani, one of the most internationally recognized Afghan figures, who had worked for the United Nations and the World Bank, was escaping through the back door.

Without reaching the level of the family of the last Shah of Persia, Mohamed Reza Pahlavi, the surname Ghani is synonymous with the end of an era between the first Taliban government and the one now looming with the withdrawal of the United States and NATO. Thousands of miles away, in a Brooklyn loft, lives a daughter of the former president, Mariam Ghani, 42, as an artist and film director.

The New York tabloid
NY Post
He ‘hunted’ the artist when she left her home to contrast the bohemian life of the former president’s daughter with the fearsome situation Afghan women face with the arrival of the new regime. The truth is that beyond her Afghan roots, Ghani, born in Brooklyn and raised in the Maryland neighborhood, is purely American.

As Javier Ansorena described in a profile on Mariam Ghani a few years ago, her career was established before she was recognized as “the daughter of” after her father came to power. In fact, not many in the New York art scene knew whose daughter Mariam Ghani was before the fall of the Afghan government and the takeover of the Taliban. “(She) looks uncomfortable when they ask about him,” added the ABC correspondent in New York back in 2015.

While his father was part of the early post-iban Afghan governments, Mariam Ghani began his career as an artist and teacher. As he describes in the CV uploaded to his website, his work has since appeared in some of the world’s most renowned museums, including the Guggenheim and MOMA in New York and the Tate Modern in London. Her work has a strong political component: racial conflicts, immigration, economic transformations … Among her projects, Ghani is known for her critical, curatorial, conservation and creative work with the national film archive Afghan Films.

“His first feature documentary, ‘What We Left Unfinished,’ about five films that were started and abandoned during the communist era in Afghanistan, is now showing in some theaters,” notes the NY Post.

After the fall of Kabul, last Monday Mariam Ghani published a post on her Instagram profile where she lamented the victory of the Taliban. Ghani said she was angry and scared by the situation of her family, friends and colleagues who have stayed in Afghanistan after doing everything in their power, in addition to suggesting various actions to help the Afghan art world, who happen to be in the crosshairs of the Taliban.

Emirates welcomes Ashraf Ghani

Days after his flight, this Wednesday, the Afghan embassy in Tajikistan has requested Interpol the arrest of the former president on charges of looting the public coffers after the accusations of Russia that he had fled with four cars and a helicopter full of cash.

The United Arab Emirates announced on Wednesday that it had welcomed former Afghan president and Mariam’s father, Ashraf Ghani, and his family “for humanitarian reasons.” Ashraf Ghani declared on Sunday that he left his country to avoid a “bloodbath”, acknowledging that “the Taliban won.”

At that time, the former president, without saying where he was, declared that he was convinced that if he had stayed in Afghanistan, “unnameable patriots would die and that Kabul would be destroyed.”

“The Taliban won by arms and are now responsible for the honor, control and preservation of the country,” he added in a message on Facebook.

Numerous rumors circulated since his departure about his final destination: Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Oman and, as it was, the United Arab Emirates.

It is not the first time that this rich Gulf country has hosted international leaders.

Last year, Don Juan Carlos, went into exile in the Emirates before the corruption investigations that the country’s justice system was carrying out.

In 2017, Dubai welcomed former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sentenced for rebellion to five years in prison. Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto went into exile in the Emirates between 1999 and October 2007.

The Emirates, along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, recognized the previous Taliban government, from 1996 to 2001.

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