For the past 55 years, the World Press Association has picked a photo of the year. That picture which best captures the essence of the year at hand. Looking at all the years of war, famine and ravage, decade after decade, sadly it seems like very little has changed over time.

Here are some of our picks of the most powerful images:

1963, Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc sets himself ablaze in protest against the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government. (Malcolm W. Browne)

1972, Phan Thi Kim Phuc (center) flees with other children after South Vietnamese planes mistakenly dropped napalm on South Vietnamese troops and civilians. (Nick Ut)

1975, A mother and her daughter are hurled off a collapsing fire-escape in an apartment house fire in Boston. (Stanley Forman)

1980, A starving boy and a missionary in Uganda. (Mike Wells)

1987, A mother clings to a riot policeman’s shield at a polling station. Her son was one of thousands of demonstrators arrested because they tried to prove that the presidential election on December 15, which was won by the government candidate, had been rigged. (Anthony Suau)

1990, Family and neighbors mourn the death of Elshani Nashim (27), killed during a protest against the Yugoslavian government’s decision to abolish the autonomy of Kosovo. (Georges Merillon)

1993, Boys raise toy guns in a gesture of defiance. The Palestinian uprising, which began in December 1987, strengthened the Arab population in their determination to fight the occupying force. In March Israel closed its border with Gaza, causing a massive rise in unemployment. With more than 800,000 people contained in the Israeli-patrolled, eight-km-wide strip of land, bloodshed increased sharply. The peace agreement signed in Washington on September 13 promised limited authority for the Gaza Strip and a withdrawal of the Israeli army. (Larry Towell)

1998, A woman is comforted by relatives and friends at the funeral of her husband. The man was a soldier with the ethnic Albanian rebels of the Kosovo Liberation Army, fighting for independence from Serbia. He had been shot the previous day while on patrol. (Dayna Smith)

2004, A woman mourns a relative killed in the tsunami. On December 26, a 9.3 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, triggered a series of deadly waves that traveled across the Indian Ocean, wreaking havoc in nine Asian countries, and causing fatalities as far away as Somalia and Tanzania. (Arko Datta)

2010, Bibi Aisha, an 18-year-old woman from Oruzgan province in Afghanistan, fled back to her family home from her husband’s house, complaining of violent treatment. The Taliban arrived one night, demanding Bibi be handed over to face justice. After a Taliban commander pronounced his verdict, Bibi’s brother-in-law held her down and her husband sliced off her ears and then cut off her nose. Bibi was abandoned, but later rescued by aid workers and the U.S. military. (Jodi Bieber)

For the full list, go here.

[via BuzzFeed]