South Sudan

The Vulture and the Little Girl published

March 26, 1993
A photo called “Struggling Girl” or “The Vulture and the Little Girl” is published in the New York Times

The photograph was taken of a young boy (initially believed to be a girl) as he apparently was trying to receive help at a United Nations feeding center in South Sudan. Photographer Kevin Carter snapped the picture as the boy collapsed from starvation on the ground while an opportunistic vulture patiently waited in the background. Carter, who had been in the area to bring light to the catastrophic famine, took several shots of the child and scared the vulture away. Reportedly, Carter and fellow photographer Joao Silva had a team of soldiers following them during their visit and were allowed to only take photographs. Because of this, Carter was forbidden from assisting any of the citizens of Sudan including the starving child. The New York Times published the photo and Carter was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for it.

The toll of the state of Sudan eventually led to Carter’s suicide. The starving child and vulture, victims of “necklacing” (an execution method in which the condemned has a rubber car tire placed over their neck and shoulders which is then filled with oil and lit on fire), and other atrocities stayed with him. This combined with depression from the belief that he wouldn’t be able to live up to the expectations accompanying a Pulitzer and the loss of 16 rolls of film from a Time magazine assignment to Mozambique pushed Carter over the edge. He committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning on July 27, 1994.

Decades later, the child’s father identified his son as Kong Nyong. Kong was helped at the UN station though he died around 2007 from “fevers.”

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