How a personal collector saved Afghanistan’s Expo 2020 pavilion

Afghan pavilion in Dubai was empty as a result of Afghan political disaster earlier than a personal collector was requested to select up the items.

Dubai, UAE – “The Afghanistan pavilion is the name of the pavilion for the people of Afghanistan,” Mohamed Omar Rahimy, the director of the pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, instructed Al Jazeera.

Rahimy was nonetheless a young person when he fled Afghanistan in 1978 to flee violence and preventing.

He says his ancestors have been within the vintage enterprise for a very long time – his father, who pressured Rahimy to flee Afghanistan, ran an vintage store in Kabul.

Now based mostly in Austria for greater than 40 years, Rahimy mentioned has no political affiliation, including that when, following the fall of President Ashraf Ghani’s authorities in Kabul in August, he had the chance to take over the pavilion, he took it up with out pondering twice.

The pavilion reveals 300 items of antiques, artefacts, carpets and different gadgets, all from Rahimy’s non-public assortment that he introduced from Austria [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]

Afghanistan’s elected authorities was in control of the pavilion. But after the Taliban takeover of the nation in August, the destiny of the pavilion turned unsure.

Following the autumn of the federal government in Kabul, the pavilion remained empty when Expo 2020 opened on October 1.

When the Expo officers gave him the inexperienced gentle to take over the pavilion, Rahimy left for Dubai from Vienna.

“We come from the private sector. In September, when Expo [officials] contacted me knowing my experience, I was all up for it,” Rahimy mentioned.

“I’ve lived in Austria for more than 40 years but my heart is in Afghanistan. I don’t have any political affiliation but whenever my country has needed me, I’ve tried to be there.”

Rahimy was nonetheless a teen when he fled Afghanistan in 1978 to flee the violence and preventing [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]

The pavilion reveals 300 items of antiques and artefacts, all from Rahimy’s non-public assortment that he introduced from Austria.

The record features a assortment of carpets, stones, jewelry, daggers, swords, conventional garments and a 15th-century gold and silver necklace.

“We have a very big shop in Austria selling handicrafts, jewellery and stones. I have around 2,600 items there but managed to bring just 300 here to the Expo. We will be keeping them here until the end of the Expo 2020.”

The pavilion, he mentioned, was designed and accomplished in three days together with his brother and sons working “day and night to get the job done” regardless of the every day information popping out of his homeland.

Rahimy mentioned the pavilion was designed and accomplished in three days together with his brother and sons working ‘day and night to get the job done’ [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]

The Taliban authorities has but to be recognised by any nation or the United Nations the place Afghanistan’s seat remains to be held by the consultant of the earlier authorities, Ambassador Ghulam Isaczai.

Following the autumn of Ghani’s authorities, nearly $10bn of Afghanistan’s belongings have been frozen by the United States, a move that worldwide support organisations and specialists say can result in a “catastrophe”.

Despite the political uncertainty, Rahimy is joyful to see the pavilion functioning and assist enhance the picture of the nation within the minds of those that go to.

“People who come here to the pavilion have just negative stuff about Afghanistan in their minds. But when they enter the pavilion, their mind changes because they see the culture of Afghanistan,” mentioned Rahimy.

“My heart pains for my country, but while I can’t do anything about the political situation, I can try and change people’s mindsets and that’s what I’m aiming for. People coming here to visit us is good news for us and good news for Afghanistan.”