Everything posted here is stricktly the opinion of the poster and shall not be taken to be the official position of UNMIS, UNMISS, UN, the Norwegian Armed Forces or any other organisation whatsoever.

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Still quiet, but with great excitement

It is still nice and quiet in our corner of Sudan, with the referendum in it's third day and everything considered. We might just get through this with no major incidents in our sector...

The populace is grasping the opportunity to vote with great enthusiasm, and a somewhat non-western attitude. While for us westerners voting is something we do on our way home from work every few years - if we can even be bothered - in South Sudan it's seen as something to celebrate. I saw people camping out in front of the polling stations before they open, just to be among the first to cast their vote. I've seen whole families dressed in their Sunday finest to go with the parents to vote. I've seen - from a distance, since military personnel shouldn't be too close to the polling centers - long lines of people not only patiently waiting in line*, but singing and dancing as they wait. I've heard about whole villages walking tens of kilometers through the bush to get to their polling stations. I've seen oldsters and youngsters cry after voting, not because they are sad but because the whole experience of being allowed to have a say in their own future is overwhelmingly powerful. Perhaps this is something that we should all try to keep in mind the next time we consider if we can be bothered to actually put a pair of shoes on and go help decide our future?

A convoy of boda-bodas (motor cycles) and cars, heading towards one of the referendum centers.

*) In most causes the idea of waiting in line is alien to the mindset people have down here. Where you in Norway would have a line, here you got a mob all trying to get first.

1 comment:

  1. Your blog came up on a mobile layout today when I accessed it with my phone but the comment area don't like my phone still, lol. Anyways I guess that usually they wait in line when there is unrest doesn't help how they normally 'wait in line'.