Things you may have missed in 2012

Egyptians erect obelisk dedicated to the deaths during the 2011 uprising. Photo by Amr Nabil.

While most followed 2012 stories about the civil war in Syria and the Israeli attack on Palestine; the Queen’s Jubilee and the London Olympics; the foibles of Romney and the re-election of Obama; the rise and rise of viral media; and the popularity of one Korean satirist/rapper… around the world, other stories slipped under the radar, no less affecting or miraculous than the rest.

Here is a brief summary of just some of the happenings that you may have missed in 2012:


While Kony 2012 brought many to tears of sympathy, it very quickly brought upon tears of rage: one of the most arresting articles that came out about the campaign, The White Saviour Industrial Complex, tore it apart and offered a sobering reality check.

The word ‘misogyny’ got a thorough workout in 2012, and women’s rights and empowerment for women #destroyingthejoint in the ‘West’ perhaps found a lighter shade of grey: meanwhile in Nepal, basic contraception was changing women’s lives. Little girls now sing educational songs with lyrics such as “Getting married as a child ruins your chances in life / and you also risk a uterine prolapse” (it rhymes in Nepalese).

And for Egyptian women, a group of male vigilantes have taken it upon themselves to ‘tag’ sexual harassment offenders.

While many sighed in relief at the Obama victory, Yemeni Nobel prize winner, Tawakul Karman, criticised continued drone strikes in her country under his administration.

And though our media probably won’t show the effects of the US drones in the Middle East, China’s media are taking televised death to a new level, with a new show where inmates are interviewed before they’re executed.

2012 also saw the Yangtze River turn red  and the discovery of a floating island.

Bizarrely, a Russian Millionaire threw paper money planes out his office window, a Brazilian man turned up at his own funeral, human skin will be the new leather, and a species of horse fly was named after Beyoncé. And if you were worried about the end of the world this month, don’t be.


The most misrepresented continent, Africa, saw some milestones of its own, when Mr. Gay World was crowned in Johannesburg and Uganda had its first heart-stopping pride march.

And this piece shone some light on the continent’s future.

Uganda Pride March by David Robinson


While LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights were declared ‘human rights’ by Hillary Clinton earlier in 2012, the emphasis has mostly been on the ‘L’ and the ‘G’, and the ‘rights’ boiled down into one word: ‘marriage’.

It’s sobering to look at the statistics of murdered trans people worldwide in the past year.  Though there have been some triumphant stories, like Angola’s Titica, and some subversive/bewildering ones from Japan, too.


Of the many viral videos of grumpy cats and horse-riding dance moves that went around the home and office, you might have missed these:

Sure, Felix Baumgartner jumped from space, but did you know a pizza also made the fall?

Impressed by the nubile young gymnasts during the Olympics? Did you see 86-year-old Johanna Quaas on the parallel bars?

Or ‘first world problems’ read aloud by people in the developing world?

This beautiful time lapse of planes landing at London’s Heathrow airport over the course of a day?

And how about a brief stirring animated history of the ongoing conflicts in Palestine?


‘Cloud Tsunami Waves’ by JR Hott / Panhandle Helicopter

You may have missed this cloud phenomena which was caught on camera in Miami earlier this year, or this Chinese grandfather who models his designer granddaughter’s clothes.

Or maybe your mind wasn’t significantly blown by this photo of the young cast of Game of Thrones?


And finally, did you get around to listening to what the Higgs Boson particle sounds like? That’s ‘God’s’ music, people!

Sam Rodgers is a writer with insufferable wanderlust. You can follow him on Twitter @anoddgeography, Tumblr, or check out his blog at