A world ablaze, captured by AP photographers in 2021

YE_Top_Photos_2021_31925 Yohaness, from Eritrea, prays with other migrants as they arrive at the coast of Italy aboard the Spanish vessel Open Arms, on Jan. 4, 2021, after being rescued in the Mediterranean sea.
YE_Top_Photos_2021_11319 A penguin swims in an enclosure housing gentoo and chinstrap penguins at Mexico City's Inbursa Aquarium on Jan. 13, 2021.
YE_Top_Photos_2021_66383 A farmer smokes a bidi, or hand-rolled cigarette, during a tractor rally to protest new farm laws in Ghaziabad, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, on Jan. 7, 2021.
YE_Top_Photos_2021_62288 A voodoo pilgrim bathes in a waterfall believed to have purifying powers during an annual celebration in Saut d' Eau, Haiti, on July 16, 2021.
YE_Top_Photos_2021_65110 Yemeni fighters backed by the Saudi-led coalition ride on the back of an armored vehicle as they leave the front lines of Marib, Yemen, on June 19, 2021.
YE_Top_Photos_2021_47205 A woman holds a cutout of President Donald Trump's face at a rally in Washington in support of Trump called the "Save America Rally" on Jan. 6, 2021.
YE_Top_Photos_2021_19828 Demonstrators attack a barricade protecting Mexico City's National Palace during a march to commemorate International Women's Day and protest against gender violence, on March 8, 2021.
YE_Top_Photos_2021_79454 A migrant is comforted by a member of the Spanish Red Cross at the Spanish enclave of Ceuta near the border of Morocco and Spain, on May 18, 2021.
YE_Top_Photos_2021_96219 Shredded trees and the shells of homes lie half buried in mud near the Taal volcano almost a year after it erupted in Batangas province, a popular tourist destination just south of Manila, Philippines, on Jan. 10, 2021.
YE_Top_Photos_2021_25282 People cry out as the body of their relative is recovered from the rubble of a building damaged by an earthquake in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia, on Jan. 15, 2021.
YE_Top_Photos_2021_40670 Firefighters battle the Sugar Fire, part of the Beckwourth Complex Fire, in Doyle, Calif., on July 9, 2021.
YE_Top_Photos_2021_67641 Honduran migrants clash with Guatemalan soldiers in Vado Hondo, Guatemala, on Jan. 17, 2021.
YE_Top_Photos_2021_75648 President-elect Joe Biden, left, and Vice President Mike Pence, right, watch as Lady Gaga steps off the stage after performing the national anthem during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Jan. 20, 2021.
YE_Top_Photos_2021_70819 Tin Tin Win, center, weeps over the body of her son, Tin Htut Hein, at his funeral in Yangon, Myanmar, on Feb. 24, 2021. Tin Htut Hein was shot four days earlier while acting as a volunteer guard for a neighborhood watch group that was set up over fears that authorities were using criminals released from prison to spread fear and commit violence.

“Some say the world will end in fire,” wrote the poet Robert Frost — and for much of 2021, Associated Press photographers captured scenes of a world ablaze, amid rumblings of ruin.

In New Delhi, a man sprints amid the funeral pyres of COVID-19 victims — too many fires, too much heat, too many victims. On a beach near the village of Limni, Greece, the horizon is lit by the flames of wildfires raging across the eastern Mediterranean.

And at La Palma in the Canary Islands, the inferno is in the Cumbre Vieja volcano. But more than 10,000 million cubic meters of ash turn the world into a negative, with black ash taking the place of white snow.

Not all of the combustion is so literal.

There is fury: the astonishing moment when police aimed their guns at rioters trying to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol; Mexican demonstrators against gender violence, hurling themselves at barricades; an Ethiopian woman’s wrath as she fights for every split pea in starving, war-torn Tigray.

And there are the sorrowful embers of violence. Stoic Palestinians carry the body of a child who died in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, while a continent away, mourners bear the body of a man killed while protesting the coup in Myanmar. And in Haiti, the wife of slain President Jovenel Moise, Martine, leaves a memorial gathering in black widow’s weeds and mask.

There was more to 2021, of course. There was fun: Lady Gaga wore one of the world’s largest dresses to Joe Biden’s inauguration.

There were moments of hope. Even as millions more died of COVID-19, billions were vaccinated. Health care worker Nazir Ahmed ventured to remote Kashmiri meadows to inoculate shepherds, some of them vaccine resistant. He stands in his protective gear on a hillock, like an emissary from COVID times who somehow found himself in a South Asian remake of “The Sound of Music.”

There are other images that recall the movies, but askew.

Those men on horseback in 10-gallon hats are not the cowboys of classic Westerns; they’re border agents, corralling Haitian migrants as they try to cross the Rio Grande into the United States.

And the man and woman caught in a passionate embrace in Barcelona, Spain, are not characters in a romantic comedy; behind them, a riot rages over the imprisonment of a rapper convicted of insulting the Spanish monarchy. And the streets are on fire.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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