...it is the grass that suffers. On the 9 July 2012 the two youngest countries in the world celebrate their first birthdays. To mark the occasion, journalists from Sudan and South Sudan came together to report on the development of both nations in the second edition of The Niles. The proverb about the two elephants, which is popular in both countries, has become a fitting leitmotif. How much the grass actually suffers, how the elephants are affected and what that has to do with relationships between people, are all explored in the collection of stories, pictures and songs from Sudan and South Sudan.
6 The Niles | Panorama Khartoum, Jamhurria Street. On July 9, 2011, Sudanese celebrate the secession of South Sudan. The supporters of an anti-Southern group were arguably a small minority in the northern society. Normal life has quickly returned to Jamhurria Street. As before, it is heavily congested in the morning and relatively quiet in the afternoon. Juba, Independence Square. On July 9, 2011, Salva Kiir Mayardit, the first President of the Republic of South Sudan, overlooks the celebrating audience. Next to him stands Omar Al Bashir, first President of the “Second” Republic of Sudan. One year later, the venue is largely deserted, while the former partners have de facto declared war on each other. ’11 ’12 Juba, Garang Mausoleum area. A huge crowd rejoices at the statue of Dr. John Garang on July 9, 2011. The rebel leader had fought for a united “New Sudan”, but his vision died with him in a helicopter crash in 2005. Today, few people visit the area. The concept of a “New Sudan” for the marginalized peripheries has been taken up, instead, by insurgents in the new South of the North. ’11 ’12 Juba International Airport. The new terminal was supposed to be open for independence day and look like the Cape Town airport in South Africa, according to the Ministry of Transport. Today, construction work still has not been finished. Likewise, the project of a new airport in Khartoum seems to be frozen. ’11 ’12 ’11 ’12
Panorama | The Niles 7 Khartoum, house of Ismail al-Azhari. The building belonging to the family al-Azhari, who led Sudan to independence in 1956, is covered in black to mourn the partition of Africa’s once largest nation in July, 2011. Today, some degree of normality has returned and Azhari’s party successors have joined the government of President Al Bashir. ’11 ’12 Juba, Garang Mausoleum area. On July 9, 2011, the streets around the venue are cordoned off by policemen and soldiers to allow the VIPs through the cheering masses. Today, everyday life has returned to the streets of downtown Juba. As before, they are heavily congested in the morning and quiet in the afternoon. ’11 ’12 Juba, Jebel Market. A cleaning campaign was supposed to rid Juba of garbage ahead of the festivities for independence, but with limited success. The Arabic mobile phone ad at Jebel market reads: “Say it with your voice”. One year later, garbage piles at Jebel market are even bigger. At least the new nation has finally got an international phone code. ’11 ’12 Then & Now