A tree was cut down in the Iranian city of Kashmar in the year 861. A cypress. A holy cypress, revered by the faithful Zoroastrians of the region because they considered it once having grown from a branch that Zarathustra himself had brought down from Paradise and planted there.

Humour is a strange word, in so far as we mostly use it in a very limited way today, a way that does not reflect the original wide range of its meanings.

If we are not able to travel, then we are like an arrow which has never left its bow. That is indeed a sentiment that I personally relate to very much.

What comes to mind when the history of Islam in Europe is evoked? One thinks of the mezquita in Cordoba and the Alhambra in Granada. Or Sicily under Arab and Norman rule. And the long Ottoman presence in the Balkans and of the beauty of Bosnia and Albania.

Meena Kumari is somewhat of a patron saint of the broken-hearted. And I do actually often invoke her, like an actual patron saint.

When we come to a true realisation that ‘God knows best’ then we also come to an understanding that knows that each single human being carries his or her own story.

The AfD’s sudden rise has much to do with the specific history of German politics in recent decades and also with a very specific German-ness of its agenda. But its rise would never have been possible without the previous rise of other right-wing populist parties in Germany’s neighbouring countries.

My life has largely been defined by talking about ‘not being a man’. I am a transwoman. That means I was born with what society normatively calls a ‘male body’. But I define myself as a woman; and am usually seen and treated as such by people around me.