Time and again in the midst of "events, dear boy, events" (Harold Macmillan's famous response to an interrogation about what is the biggest difficulty in being Prime Minister), I keep coming back to Dutch theologian Harry Kuitert's observation that while "everything is politics, politics is not everything".
In 2010 an earthquake ripped through Haiti killing more than 200,000, making millions homeless. Speaking to Haitians now, they date everything from that day – “après le douze”, “avant le douze” meaning after or before the twelfth of January when the 7.0 magnitude quake shook itself out from near the capital Port au Prince.
In May 2009, Sri Lanka’s civil war came to an end. On 14 March 2012, Channel 4 broadcast Sri Lanka's Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished, a follow-up to an earlier documentary. This focused on the last few months of the armed conflict, when large numbers of civilians were killed or injured.