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January 10, 2011 Permalink

A historic vote in Sudan

South Sudan, currently part of Sudan - the largest country in Africa, is holding a historic referendum this week following a 2005 peace treaty, where its citizens will decide whether to remain unified, or for South Sudan to secede and become a new nation. The 2005 treaty brought to an end decades of civil war between the Islamic north and predominantly Christian and animist south. The south is expected to vote by around 99 percent to secede from the north - which will also give it a majority of Sudan's oil. Sudan's President Omar al-Beshir has stated he would honor the vote, whatever the outcome. Should the vote to secede pass, the hard work of defining borders, working out how to share oil revenue and more will have just begun. Collected here are images of Sudanese people participating in this week's vote. (35 photos total)

A Southern Sudanese voter casts her ballot at a local polling station on the outskirts of Juba on January 09, 2011 on the first day of a week-long independence referendum expected to lead to the partition of Africa's largest nation and the creation of the world's 193rd UN member state. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
more photos
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79 comments so far...

nice to see

Posted by Bill Payer January 10, 11 12:55 PM

vote for peace people, good luck.

Posted by humanbeing January 10, 11 12:59 PM

Great Pictures.

Posted by Joe January 10, 11 01:02 PM

viva independence!

Posted by elmo January 10, 11 01:03 PM


# 3

Helicpoters should never land that close to horses. Look how scared they are!!!!!1

Posted by Tracy in Montreal January 10, 11 01:07 PM

Great album. I've never seen that kind of tribal mod look so pretty as #15

Posted by Nathan B. January 10, 11 01:21 PM


Posted by Jeff January 10, 11 01:22 PM

Probably shouldn't land that close to cattle either.

Nice pictures. I pray for peace for the region.

Posted by Kristi January 10, 11 01:27 PM

#24 FTW :)

Posted by Required Name January 10, 11 01:27 PM

Realize that the north is not likely to allow the south to secede peacefully. This will almost certainly lead to war.

Posted by Bob January 10, 11 01:30 PM

I like the idea that each person who voted has inked finger. I would like to vote that way too :-)

Posted by alenka January 10, 11 01:39 PM

#15 is my favorite of this set :)

Posted by oddboyout January 10, 11 01:41 PM

#31 and #27 and #6 are touching! wonderful pictures

Posted by murliz January 10, 11 01:42 PM

Lets just hope this "freedom" is what America preaches rather than what they actually do

Posted by Mathew January 10, 11 01:50 PM

12: South Sudanese people dance, with Kenya's capital Nairobi in the background, shortly after casting their vote

Is that a typo? If not, why/how are Sudanese people able to vote in Kenya?

Posted by Adrenalin Tim January 10, 11 02:28 PM

God bless all the people in Sudan...Definitely a great day has come for all the violence will be over..People will live in peace..
live like a civilized person n let the other people also live!!!! :)

Posted by Anil January 10, 11 02:37 PM

The little girl in #9 is too cute

Posted by SoulChorea January 10, 11 02:42 PM

Is English the preferred language in Southern Sudan?

Also, are they planning to change their name? Firstly Janoub A'Sudan or Southern Sudan is a cumbersome name. Secondly, Sudan comes from the Arabic word for 'blacks' (Bilad A'Sudan - Country of the Blacks).

And finally, what's Al-Bashir up to? I don't trust him.

(Cute kid in picture 9)

Posted by T (New Zealand) January 10, 11 02:56 PM

“An historic vote in Sudan”…

Posted by Stephen Allred January 10, 11 02:59 PM

@Adrenaline Tim:
It's common practice for countries to make provisions for their citizens abroad to vote. In the US, mail-in ballots are the common way of achieving this, but some other countries set up physical polling stations abroad, especially where they have large populations. iirc, there were Iraqi polling stations in the US during their elections, for example.
There are many S. Sudanese refugees in the neighbouring countries, so it makes sense to have polls set up there. Mail-in ballots would practically disenfranchise refugees who are illiterate or have poor access to postal services.

Posted by Daniel S January 10, 11 03:37 PM

a flying hand in #19. Who can explain that?

Posted by Job January 10, 11 03:37 PM

Jimmy. Please just go away.

Posted by Dave January 10, 11 03:41 PM

12: South Sudanese people dance, with Kenya's capital Nairobi in the background, shortly after casting their vote

Is that a typo? If not, why/how are Sudanese people able to vote in Kenya?

No, it is not a typo. Refugees in countries around the world(mainly in the u.s. and other parts of Africa) who are from south Sudan are allowed to vote as well.

Posted by Evan January 10, 11 03:45 PM

@Adrenalin Tim January 10, 2011 02:28 PM

Several polling stations have been opened in various countries with a large Sudanese diaspora. A lot of Sudanese live in bordering countries because of the 30 years of warfare and bloodshed.
So to make sure their voice is heard too they've tried to reach as many Southern Sudanese as possible.

Posted by Jonas January 10, 11 04:18 PM

I pray for peace between all the people that live there, whether they are christian or muslin, if they want to be separate and not fight with each other or stay together and still not fight with each other learning tolerances for the good of each other.

If the crusades had not tried to kill every one off then they wouldn't still be angry about what happened.

Posted by Bonnie Price January 10, 11 04:19 PM

@Job #21

LOL, it's true :)

Anyway, using a photo editor, working with contrast and lighting, the arm comes out... it's only a black jacket over a black background...

Posted by Stefano January 10, 11 05:03 PM

Gotta love Democracy! Glad to see freedom and peace in a once war torn country! :)

Posted by TK January 10, 11 05:27 PM

Incredible pics on such a dramatic historical day

Posted by Jeremy Neech January 10, 11 05:49 PM

i hope sudan stays as a whole unit .separation is catastrophic :(

Posted by Ahmed January 10, 11 05:50 PM

@Tracy about photo #3 i am scared too

Posted by Pawan January 10, 11 06:07 PM

Viva la independencia y la Libertad! Bravo independence and Liberty, freedom for all. Good wishes of peace.

Posted by Luz E Rivera January 10, 11 06:32 PM

Praying for peace in these regions, the people need it badly. Sudanese people want to live too! Gr8 pics!

Posted by Iya Adjua January 10, 11 07:00 PM

nice pictuers, I only wish that the photos are more compahensive , meaning the whole pictuer, north and south........

Posted by omer January 10, 11 07:13 PM

I have great hopes for Sudan, and hope their decision will be acheived peacefully.

Photo #10 is art. Beautiful pic.

Posted by Martin Levenson January 10, 11 07:39 PM

There is definitely material here for an extraordinary movie. 100% Sudanese talent, full Hollywood production, people like the two girls in #5 and the little girl in #9. Her face - #15 - just extraordinary.

The story of an African nation deeply divided, with two language systems (English and Arabic), two identities (Christian and Muslim) - Like the movie Ghandi, showing the secession of one from the other. It is the ultimate human story that has defined the modern era - the irrendentic difference between people who, socially, genetically and historically have been one people, separated by different religions. Ireland and Northern Ireland. Cechnya. Bosnia. tthe split of Czechoslovakia. Pakistan and India. Israel and (everyone). The Tutsi's and Hutus. Nothing but religions have separated these people from each other, and who are those to gain?

Not the people - no. The political/religious interests in having their xenophobic dreams fulfilled, to set up their form of government, free or repressive. These are they who gain. The women, children - on one side are taught to hate the others for their poverty, and on the other side are taught to try to forgive, but for the odd predilictions of their bretheren.

It would be a movie that would again capture the hearts of the rest of the world, and if done right, might cause all of us to begin to ask the question, "does any religion have any authority to act on behalf of its people sociologically?" I think not. But that is as hard for me as a Christian to swallow as I'm sure for a Muslim.

So, let us think on this, and hope for a movie.

Posted by GoatGuy January 10, 11 08:24 PM

Great images. Peace and love.

Posted by martian_melaine January 10, 11 09:18 PM


Posted by 屁民。 January 10, 11 10:12 PM

@29, Where have you been living? Under a rock?

"i hope sudan stays as a whole unit .separation is catastrophic :( "

It's the best solution for Sudan that they separate Muslim north from the Christian south. While the Christians tolerate their Islamic neighbors, the Muslim would like nothing better than to exterminate anyone who isn't a Muslim. Not to mention the disparity in the distribution of oil revenue. If Sudan stay united, there will always be bloody skirmishes between north and south.
To keep peace in that region, they have to separate and for South Sudan to create their own country and start to lift their people out of poverty.
With all that oil revenue finally going to the South Sudanese, they just might create an African country just like South Africa, progressive and economically stable.
Good luck to the South Sudanese and perhaps you might want to choose another name for your country.

Posted by Joshua January 11, 11 12:49 AM

This is incredible! The images are amazing and speak volumes. Best of freedom to South Sudan!

Posted by lily January 11, 11 12:56 AM

they guy in #4 has stuck that poster on upside down!

Posted by Dan January 11, 11 01:55 AM

The splitting of Czechoslovakia was not based on religion, but on consequences of immature nationalism on both parts. Yes, Czechs are 80% atheists, Slovaks are 80% Catholics, but no one actually gives a damn about religion issues here. There was no hatery, either. Slovaks brought this to the table, asking more independence on federal goverment, Czechs just let them go and take care of themselves, as Czechs felt the distribution of federal assests was not even (Slovakia was actually developed from agricultural Hungarian province into modern industrial society by Czechs and for Czech wealth in 20th century)
We have parted our economical and state affair ways, but ironically, the seccesion made folks closer. Majority of both nations still consider the other part as brothers and sisters. We have parted our ways, but we keep mutual respect and cordial relationship. Hell yes, we even did not need a passport to travel there before EU times..:)

Greetings from Prague.

Posted by Schmouddle January 11, 11 02:54 AM

May this process brings peace to Sudan and it's people.

Posted by Ritish January 11, 11 03:45 AM

I think its time that people of Palestine, Kashmir, Chehcnya are given the same freedom of choice as people of east timor & sudan and not deprived of this right because of their religion.

Posted by Usman January 11, 11 04:33 AM

picture no 19 has an ghost, floating, white hand (holding the microphone), what happened there?

Posted by Chris January 11, 11 04:40 AM

#comments 5 and 8, haha what do you suggest? That the pilots patiently wait for the animals to finally get off when it pleases them? That is providing there is enough fuel to stay airborne (and take off again...)

Posted by ben wilhelmi January 11, 11 06:27 AM

Finally, a chance for peace. I'll remember them in my prayers.
Lets hope they don't fall into the rut of corruption like other African oil Giants, Nigeria and Angola.

Posted by Umoh January 11, 11 09:48 AM

Regarding post number 35, the people of northern and southern Sudan have very little in common. They are not only different religiously, but also socially, ethnically, historically, and genetically. The only reason Sudan is one country in the first place is because that is the way the British set the border when Sudan was a colony. The north is Arab Muslim, the south is Black African, with some Christian and some Animism.
The pictures were great. Having just come back from Southern Sudan last month, they brought me back, and it's great to see hope in the people's faces.

Posted by John Wollwerth January 11, 11 09:56 AM

IN B4 the next ''revolution'' or ''civil war'' or ''dictator'' or what ever Africa seems to like... Democraty lasts one day; the day of the vote. Then a new dictator rises once again.

Posted by etienne January 11, 11 09:59 AM

I hope they get what they want and it brings peace. It was very impressive to see prior President Jimmy Carter and his wife there (along with Presidential candidate Kerry and actor George Clooney). Sudan has been a very volatile spot. I was very impressed. I had peviously seen a story on an American woman who went to Sudan to help women whose husbands and families had been killed/tortured by Sudanese soldiers (probably Northern). It is amazing what we take for granted in our country and are fortunate enough to see in others. I am sure there is a lot that goes on that we never find out about.

Posted by Adrienne January 11, 11 10:38 AM

Great job for #21,
The girl pray for peace,
God bless Sudan !!

Posted by Yohanes Nugroho January 11, 11 12:24 PM

Wonderful pictures!

Posted by Liana January 11, 11 01:23 PM

As recently stated by a French historian of Africa on Cote d'Ivoire, "the long term history of Africa will progressively overcome the short term trends imposed by European settlers". The straight lines marking the frontiers in a large part of Sub-Saharan Africa make no sense. Hopefully, when these lines account more for the people than for the institutions, peace will prevail. Good luck to South Sudan in this endeavour!

Posted by Tom January 11, 11 01:51 PM

perfect picture

Posted by Branko January 11, 11 02:03 PM

Power to the people, peace for the Wold!!!

Posted by Alvaro José Ferreira January 11, 11 02:14 PM

@45 comment number #45

They should throw small to medium sized fire crackers at them to scare them off. Then land. But for the love of God do NOT land on the horses! Their beautiful!


Posted by Tracy in Montreal January 11, 11 02:31 PM

foto bellissime e sconvolgenti prego per la pace del sud sudan e nel mondo
dobbiamo pregare tutti in tutte le religioni c è veramente bisogno

Posted by paola January 11, 11 03:25 PM

foto bellissime e sconvolgenti prego per la pace del sud sudan e nel mondo
dobbiamo pregare tutti in tutte le religioni c è veramente bisogno

Posted by paola January 11, 11 03:27 PM

I am moved

Posted by luisa January 11, 11 04:32 PM

may peace came all across the world and hope for anything but islamic republic of iran's path for their referendum

Posted by 27 January 11, 11 07:39 PM

let for once peace rain in Sudan i say this in Jesus name.

Posted by OKELLO DENIS January 12, 11 01:03 AM

Sehr gute Bilder...
N°19...wenn man genau hinsieht ist der Unterarm des Journalisten zu erkennen (schwarzer Anzug auf schwarzem Hintergrund).

Posted by Tom January 12, 11 01:18 AM

Beutiful fotography. I trust that our GOD will provide a peacefull transition.

Posted by James of Pretoria January 12, 11 03:44 AM

do separation always the best way for peace?

very seldom countries unite to form a peaceful nation. one such case is Romania. but it's always sad to see country separated because of silly excuse (e.g. religion)

Posted by Rizky January 12, 11 05:11 AM

Admittedly I don't know much about this but it is always good to see people exercising their democratic right to vote...and a country that lets them.

And #9..absolutely adorable. When she's grown with kids of her own she can say she was there. Good for mom!

Posted by Adrienne January 12, 11 11:15 AM


EPIC WIN photos.

Hope for Sudan.

Posted by Tenebris Visuals January 12, 11 12:18 PM

"Helicpoters should never land that close to horses. Look how scared they are!!" .. Posted by Tracy in Montreal

yeah, it's the bigest problem in Sudan :rolleyes: .. NHF! ;)

Posted by Dejan January 12, 11 05:08 PM

@62 Your god is the sole reason these people are fighting each other.

If your god truly this exist, conflicts like the one in Sudan (or the whole of Middle-East, or in Jugoslavia, Pakistan / India, Rwanda, Ireland, and many other places) clearly indicate that peace is not what he wants; he revels in rivers of blood, misery, suffering, and death of all of his creation.

But yeah, those are pretty nice photos, James...

Posted by infidel January 12, 11 08:54 PM

#25, 31, 35 :)

Posted by Gaurav January 13, 11 03:05 AM

Peaceful secession? Probably not especially with all that oil. It's a shame that people cannot respect each others' religious choices and live together peacefully.

Posted by Suzette January 13, 11 12:28 PM

Its amazing. The election and shine of freedom.

Posted by idham January 14, 11 08:29 AM

wow wndrfl.

Posted by Anonymous January 16, 11 08:53 AM

Wow Such a pictures

Posted by Tareq Hajwess January 16, 11 11:02 AM

Amazing.!! The Sudanese people had the courage and foresight to vote for their freedom and us Aussies have not got the backbone to embrace a Republic..!

Posted by C'mon Oz. January 17, 11 06:39 AM

I am sudanese from the North. This is very sad day indeed, we are one country and we should stay one country, South sudanese are absoultely beautiful people. I have grown up with them and it is sad to see the country get torn up to pieces likes this. I completely understand the feelings of southerners and how they are feeling like they are second class citizens in their own country but this would have changed and racism would have gone away forever. Very tragic and sad indeed.

Posted by Mohamed Kirkusawi January 18, 11 08:07 AM

I have looked at pic #3 several times....
I STILL cannot find the horses! LOL

Posted by FSMarch January 18, 11 01:22 PM

cool, and amazing

Posted by oliej nyok January 19, 11 10:53 AM

I don't think those are horses. They look more like zebras to me.

Posted by Nueman January 21, 11 11:28 PM

Africans will rise and give you glory for the peaceful Elections going on in Sudan.

Posted by Deakin Anowih John February 8, 11 05:18 PM

its interesting to see.

Posted by prafulla subba February 11, 11 03:08 AM
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