The Atone Project: Remembering the Ahmadis Favorite 



Sep 17 2021


NYC 9/11 Memorial

The Atone Project: Remembering the Ahmadis

An artistic act of critical remembrance at the 9/11 Memorial Plaza, NYC.

On the 29th of August, 2021, a drone strike killed ten members of the Ahmadi family as they sat in their car in the courtyard of their home in Kabul, Afghanistan. The U.S. government insisted their target was a group of ISIS-K terrorists. Instead they had killed a civilian family, including seven children.

On Friday 17th September 2021 artist Joseph DeLappe was visiting New York City, as the world marked 20 years since the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. The 9/11 memorial in Manhattan commemorates the 2,983 people who were killed in the 2001 and the 1993 terrorist attacks, their names inscribed on bronze parapets edging the memorial pools.

Family members visiting the national 9/11 memorial are invited to make rubbings of the inscribed names of loved ones, using provided black wax crayons and paper.

DeLappe went to the memorial on this day to make rubbings of the names of the Ahmadi family. He made a rubbing of each family member’s first name, taking letters from the names inscribed on the memorial to create composite names in honor of this family of innocents killed in the last days of the Afghanistan withdrawal. It was later on this same day that the Pentagon announced that the “over the horizon attack” that killed the Ahmadis was a mistake.

DeLappe conducted this action as an American citizen to remember the Ahmadi family as an indication of atonement, remembrance and sorrow. The action links the memorialization of the 2,983 civilians named at the 9/11 memorial and the estimated 71,000 civilians who have been killed in the Afghan and Pakistan war zone since 2001.

Conceptually, this project seeks to invoke thought: Who is remembered? Who is mourned? And how, and why? How can atonement and forgiveness be accomplished?

DeLappe comments:

“The news stories noted that there were 10 people killed by the drone strike on 29th August 2021, including seven children. It was very difficult to find the victims’ names in the media coverage. I had only managed to find 9 of the 10 names when I first engaged in this action. It was several days later when I finally found the last name, that of 2-year-old Ayat Ahmadi and I returned to the site to make a final brass rubbing memorial, to him, in remembrance and sorrow.”

Further Information & Contact: courtesy of Sarah DeLappe]

Posted by josephdelappe on

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