International Women’s Day, Rescue Plan – Timothy Ham
by Timothy Ham, special to RINewsToday
Women and children are suffering in Ukraine and Afghanistan and are subjected to crimes of war and atrocities in other countries around the world. How does an artist reflect the pain of this? The painting “Afghan Mother”, so deeply in pain, is created by a gifted Afghan artist. Abdul (name disguised to protect him and his family) continues to work even though his life is endangered by the Taliban just for the act of painting beautiful portraits and showing his country’s agony with his work.
Because March 8 is UN International Women’s Day, I want to make you aware of the struggle to bring this talented young man and his family here to the Pacific Northwest. I first met Abdul while working in Afghanistan in 2009. He was an Art Instructor for the teenage son of one of my senior staff. I was contacted by Abdul shortly after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 2021 and banned all art of “living things”. Abdul had to close his art school and art gallery and was in hiding, having been threatened by the Taliban for his art. He was seeking a way to escape. I’ve made every effort to bring him and his family to safety. We’ve found him a position at the Tacoma School of the Arts high school, but now we need your help in telling the story. His life and the lives of his family are at stake.
With the help of the immigration attorneys, we are finalizing his application for a US visa. The family needs to get out of Afghanistan and make it to a US Embassy for a visa interview and then to the US to settle in Tacoma. We need funding to help in the travel, hotel costs for the expected waiting period, to settle the family in Tacoma and to fund his Fellowship at the School. We established a Go Fund Me account ”https://www.gofundme.com/f/rescuing-an-afghan-artist-and-family” with the hopes that others will support Abdul’s desire to once again paint, to teach and to share his story.
Timothy Ham is a 1974 graduate of Providence College who worked in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Jordan on USAID funded efforts and met Abdul Habibi in 2009 in Herat Afghanistan.