Mariam Ghani, daughter of the recently ousted President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, was recently spotted walking in New York City, just days after her father fled the country.
Forced out of Afghanistan during the Taliban takeover on Monday, chaos led to Ashraf Ghani choosing to flee, with many critical of the President’s decision to leave. His daughter Mariam Ghani, 42, has received vitriol online as well due to her father’s actions, which he said was done to prevent a potential “flood of bloodshed.”
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y, in 1978, Mariam Ghani was raised in Maryland for most of her childhood. When she turned 24, she was able to make her first trip to see Afghanistan. Her father was just appointed to be the country’s Minister of Finance at the time.
Mariam Ghani’s mother, Rula, is a Lebanese citizen, and had Mariam while she was studying for her Master’s degree at Columbia University. Mariam would go on to study at New York University and the School of Visual Arts, later beginning a career as a visual artist. Mariam’s works have premiered at well-recognized international museums, such as the Guggenheim in New York, the Tate Modern in London, and the National Gallery in Washington D.C.
“Index of the Disappeared,” a multi-media project that the President’s daughter has been working on since 2004, acts as a record of all the Middle Eastern immigrants who were detained following the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, and the public reactions to their treatment. Evolving over time, the project was converted into a short film titled How Do You See the Disappeared?, as well as an interactive web-based platform.
Mariam Ghani is currently a member of the Visual Arts Faculty at Bennington College. She has also taught at Parsons and Cooper Union, in Manhattan.
Staying largely out of politics, she has chosen to use her voice and position to speak out about the systematic inequality in Afghanistan through her artistic works and activism.
Posting on Instagram Monday morning to address her father’s evacuation, Mariam Ghani stated that she was, “angry and grieving and terribly afraid for family, friends & colleagues left behind in Afghanistan.”
“To everyone who has checked in and reached out in solidarity over the the past days: thank you,” she wrote. “I wish I had the wherewithal to reply to each of you.”
She also expressed that she was “working feverishly to do anything I can” for her family, friends, and colleagues in Afghanistan.
In the meantime, she urged national figures and people around the globe to “hold the Taliban accountable,” as well as share links to organizations helping to keep the Kabul International Airport open to those wishing to evacuate the country.
On Monday, thousands of Afghan citizens rushed to the Kabul Airport in an attempt to flee, resulting in the tragic death of citizens clinging to aircraft carries as they took off the tarmac. In an attack quicker than the U.S. Military in the area had anticipated, the Taliban assumed control of the government and dispatched the presidential security force in a mere couple of hours.
Despite the attitude of the Taliban, many Afghans remain in doubt, especially when it comes to the future of women’s rights in Afghanistan, which have evolved immensely over just a 20 year period.
Mariam Ghani’s current film, What We Left Unfinished, a documentary about five Afghan works that were never completed during the Communist era in Afghanistan, premiered just this month at Syndicated, in Brooklyn, N.Y.
It is unclear if Mariam has heard anything from her father or mother since they fled the country.