Some sad and disheartening, some seemingly unreal and incomprehensible, and some joyous and celebratory--all evoking human emotions that this year has brought. I always enjoy looking at these pictures to really get a picture of what's happened in our world this year. It is crazy how much turmoil and despair is present in the world, but how a simple wedding between a commoner and a prince can make the world sigh for a moment and how a simple transition of time can bring the world together in unison as the new year begins. Happy New Year. May it be a good one.
Yuri Kozyrev—NOOR for TIMEFebruary 1, 2011. A crowd lifts a demonstrator during a protest march in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
Wayne Tilcock—The Enterprise/APOn Friday 18 November, Campus police at the University of California at Davis nonchalantly used pepper spray against students who sat peacefully on the school's quad to protest tuition increases. Online video and stills show the officers standing over the protesters and spraying them repeatedly at point blank range. "It was such an intense feeling. It felt like acid was being poured on our faces" said 21-year-old student Sophia Kamran who was among those targeted. Two officers involved in the incident were later placed on administrative leave—while a task force has been put together to address the incident and the results of a report are awaited. The episode at UC Davis followed controversial police deployments of pepper spray over the preceding days--- on 17 November against Occupy Portland participants in Pioneer Courthouse Square, and in another instance on 15 November when dozens of people including a pregnant woman and an 84-year-old activist were doused during the Occupy Seattle protests. Amidst much online debate, stills and footage in each case went viral--including this image from California by Wayne Tilcock. The YouTube video of the UC Davis incident alone reached more than 1.3 million views that weekend--while a number of creative and humorous reworkings of the images were also widely shared online.
Pete Souza—The White HouseApril 15, 2011. President Barack Obama meets with Press Secretary Jay Carney, left, and Senior Advisor David Plouffe, center, before an interview with Ben Feller of the Associated Press, in Chicago, Illinois.
Lauren Fleishman for TIMEA crowd gathered at New York's Ground Zero right after Obama's speech announcing the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 1, 2011. Revelers in the crowd scrambled up light poles over the cheering crowd.
Pete Muller—APFebruary 20, 2011. A victim of a mass rape campaign in the town of Fizi, Democratic Republic of Congo. Her identity has been concealed for security reasons and because rape carries strong social stigma in the nation.
Eric Thayer—ReutersSeptember 10, 2011. A plane flies through the "Tribute in Lights" in lower Manhattan in New York. New York marked the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center this year.
The world celebrated the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton with parades and parties, but for one key participant, the festivities were a little too much. Three-year-old Grace Van Cutsem, one of the bridesmaids, could not handle the roar of the crowd beneath the balcony at Buckingham Palace and covered her ears to block out the noise. The photo of her reaction became an instant internet sensation, rapidly morphing into a meme for all occasions. Readers of websites like Buzzfeed pasted her into their own photos, A Tumblr page was created while others used her face as the focal point of videos posted to Youtube.
Claudio Santana—AFP/Getty ImagesJune 5, 2011. A cloud of ash billowing from Puyehue volcano near Osorno in southern Chile.
Lewis Whyld—PA Photos/LandovAugust 7, 2011. Fire rages through a building in Tottenham, north London as trouble flared after members of the community took to the streets to demand "justice" after Mark Duggan, 29, was shot dead by police.
Damir Sagolj—ReutersOctober 5, 2011. A portrait of Kim Il Sung, founder of the communist regime in North Korea, beams from a government building at 6 a.m. in the pariah state's capital, Pyongyang.
Nicolas Asfouri—AFP/Getty ImagesMarch 22, 2011. A general night view taken with a longer exposure, shows destroyed houses and debris in the tsunami-damaged city of Rikuzentakata, in Japan's Iwate prefecture.
|Mary Altaffer / AP En Masse|
Confetti flies over New York's Times Square as the clock strikes midnight during the New Year's Eve celebration, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011.
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