South Sudan: Stories of love and loss from the world’s youngest country

July 12, 2016 6:53 pm
Martha Korok, Mangaten IDP Camp, Juba. At the time the crisis broke out, Martha was in Malakal. She moved to Juba because she lost her brother, Korok. When he died, she no longer had any support for her family; her husband is still in the frontline in Unity state. Now, she is stranded in a camp for the displaced in Mangaten, Juba.
Martha Korok, Mangaten IDP Camp, Juba.

, Five years ago on July 9, South Sudan became the world’s newest country.

Since, then, in spite of the enormous excitement and hope with which the country was born, a civil war has claimed more than 50,000 lives and devastated the economy. A fragile peace was struck in August 2015 and has so far held, though there remain deep wounds to heal.

We went to South Sudan thinking we’d take photos of women who are working on peace issues.

And we certainly did that. But what I realized early in the trip was that everyone here has lost someone.

We decided to spend time asking subjects to talk about their loved ones and people they’ve lost. Below you’ll find portraits of people who are all bonded by loss.

Photographed inside a displaced people’s camp run by the South Sudanese government and on the streets of Juba—the capital—these ordinary men, women and young people are calling on governments around the world to help the peace to hold in South Sudan.

The conflict in South Sudan struggles to get the attention of the international media. It’s mostly seen by outsiders as being the result of infighting between corrupt politicians and generals who have no care for the civilian population, who have ruined a country that could have fared much better had they not squandered its potential for their personal gain.

The conflict is not entirely ignored by governments in the international community, but the low level of media coverage makes it very difficult for civil society organizations to persuade governments to keep up political effort for resolving the conflict, and to provide more humanitarian funding.

We hope these portraits show another side of South Sudan and some of the powerful people who live there.

See some of Fogarty’s portraits from South Sudan below, and see more at the Dear World South Sudan website.

By Robert X. Fogarty


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