From my vantage point in Brighton, UK, it’s a strange time on Planet Earth – for all the sound and fury, social media meltdowns, strikes and protests, it has felt to me this autumn of 2022 as though we are just miming political action.

Bring back 2020. As if climate catastrophe, mass extinction, pandemic and surging inflation weren’t enough to be dealing with, Europe, America, and Russia are mired in armed conflict in Ukraine, shattering post-war dreams of peaceful economic union, and pushing the twenty-first century over the threshold into a terrifying new world order.

Whether or how autism is a physical condition is not a straightforward question.

limate crisis, refugee crisis, pandemic. Systemic racism, xenophobia, increasing health and socioeconomic inequalities. State surveillance, drone warfare, robotisation, the rise of AI during an epidemic of mental illness.

This is a story about a boy called Hamid. One might argue that it starts fifty-six years before he was born, during the Nakba of 1948 – in Arabic ‘the catastrophe’.

Sara woke before the azaan and lay quietly in the dark spooning with Farooq, his arm draped over her swollen belly, their phands clasped. The baby kicked. Well hello to you too.

Last year I had cancer. Receiving the diagnosis was the worst experience of my life, but after the shock subsided, the six months of my illness became a kind of utopia.

I’m in an aeroplane, about as far from ‘nature’ as it’s possible for an ordinary person to get: 30,000 feet above the earth, breathing recycled air in a giant plastic and metal sheath. I’m not even flying to Palestine, but Lebanon – but where are Palestine’s borders?