Who is Mariam Ghani? Runaway Afghan Prez Ashraf Ghani's daughter living arty life in New York

Mariam Ghani said she was 'angry and grieving and terribly afraid' for her friends and family in Afghanistan

                            Who is Mariam Ghani? Runaway Afghan Prez Ashraf Ghani's daughter living arty life in New York
Mariam Ghani is a Brooklyn-based visual artist and filmmaker (Facebook/Mariam Ghani)

Her father Ashraf Ghani has been dubbed a 'coward' for fleeing the country at the peak of a crisis, leaving millions of Afghan citizens at the mercy of Taliban terrorists. Sitting thousands of miles away from her terror-ravaged motherland, artist Mariam Ghani is "angry and grieving and terribly afraid" for her family. She witnessed the shocking events unfold one after another in a brief span of time as Taliban took over Afghanistan. The Brooklyn-based artist has appealed to people in America and worldwide to stand beside Afghanistan. She added that she was “working feverishly to do anything I can on their behalf.”

Mariam Ghani, a 42-year-old artist and filmmaker from New York, was targetted by social media users for leading a life of peace and freedom, while women in her country suffer inhuman oppression at the hands of the Taliban. Meanwhile, her 72-year-old father and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is hiding in a secret location, with rumors saying he is in Oman, Uzbekistan, or Tajikistan. Amid severe backlash, Ghani defended his stance of fleeing the country and surrendering power to the Taliban. “If I had stayed, countless of my countrymen would be martyred and Kabul would face destruction and turn into ruins that could result to a human catastrophe for its six million residents," he mentioned in a social media post from an undisclosed location. 


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Ashraf Ghani (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Who is Mariam Ghani? 

The daughter of Ashraf Ghani and his Lebanese wife Rula Ghani, Mariam Ghani was born in the US. Her parents raised Mariam and her brother Tarek in Maryland, where Ashraf Ghani was a teacher at Johns Hopkins University. In a 2015 interview with Times, Mariam Ghani once said that not many were aware of her relationship with her father. "There’s plenty of people in the art world who don’t know, which is preferable," she said. 

She attended New York University, followed by the School of Visual Arts, before settling in NYC as an artist. Her art is often inspired by her experience of growing up in a multicultural setting, with Afghanistan being a central focus. "I grew up very much in between cultures. And that’s the position I work from as an artist," reads her artist bio. Her work has been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum and the MOMA in New York, as well as the Tate Modern in London. Mariam has been working as a faculty at Bennington College in Vermont since 2018. 


She has directed multiple feature documentaries, including one titled 'What We Left Unfinished', which talks about five films that were started but abandoned in Communist era-Afghanistan. Ghani has been hailed as a "feminist, archivist and an activist." She is reportedly "well-versed in the politics of extraordinary rendition as she is in the very Brooklyn pursuit of homemade chile-passion-fruit sorbet.”

In her latest Instagram post, Mariam Ghani shared resources to help out Afghan citizens. She wrote an elaborate caption saying, "To everyone who has checked in and reached out in solidarity over the past days: thank you. It has meant a lot. I'm pretty burned out, but I hope I'll be able to reply to you all individually at some point. This post is a reply to the question many have asked: What can we do to help Afghans right now? If you are interested in coordinating on a letter campaign re: the status of cultural workers please get in touch. There are also some #shareable talking points for contacting elected officials in the US and advocacy internationally, and a link in my profile to a vetted list of places to donate to internally displaced people and volunteer to help refugees (e.g. pro bono legal services, translation, welcome wagon). Also, if you lead an institution and can sponsor at-risk migrants, please start a serious conversation in your institution about how to do it, and consult @atriskartists for models and resources. To donate specifically to help Afghan artists: @aaawa_art."