213 Darwin Year


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172 in stock


By Zekria Ibrahimi

ISBN: 978-1-84991-178-8
Published: 2010
Pages: 50
Key Themes: poetry, existentialism, spirituality


They are hunting me….

I am a non- man…

My desperate heart is beating savagely in my ears…

I am hurt, I am afraid, I am a fugitive…

They want to seize me, and to negate me- to castrate and lobotomize me….

For I am not genetically pure, and therefore I do not have the right to exist…

Their state has made eugenics the centre, the core, of everything…

And the police possess no pity…

About the Author

Zekria Ibrahimi (born in 1959) is defined by his schizophrenia. It first hit him long ago, in his late teens. He is fifty one years old now, grey and frail, almost a pensioner, with all the aches and injuries of age, and he does not always want to remember how, as an adolescent in the late 1970’s, he suddenly became afraid of everything surrounding him, and, worst of all, of himself. He would run around the countryside and knock at the doors of strangers because he feared the apocalypse was pursuing him … He would pick up rubbish outside in alleys and streets and hoard it in his not very palatial lodgings … He was always wandering away from home, searching for … what would never be found again … the straight route, the level way … He was a tramp, freezing during the nights in public toilets where he had various unsavoury insects as company on the cold concrete…

There were years of pain when his schizophrenia became almost his only companion- albeit a sadistic one, punishing him even as he hugged it. Perhaps, to echo both R. D. Laing and Emily Dickinson, it is the entire globe, it is general society, that is truly insane. Schizophrenics simply burrow all too deeply under the surface. They reach the very core of the savage reality in us all. Most varnish over the anarchic truth within through the superficial sham paraded as ‘civilization’. Schizophrenics prefer to be uncomfortably honest barbarians.

Eventually, after much psychotic shouting on Hammersmith Broadway, the hapless Zekria was confined at the Charing Cross unit in the West London Mental Health Trust. Following the unsafe unstable freedom of his schizophrenia, came the restrictions of Section 3. He would not have survived without the multi- racial compassion of the individual doctors and nurses in Charing Cross. Yet the overall SYSTEM remains an ogre of rules and restraints, and the INSTITUTION of psychiatry can be as cold and vicious as in the days of lobotomy and insulin shock.

Now he is elderly, but still he muses about being locked up, drugged up, about how, with schizophrenia, the treatment can be worse than the disease…

Book Extract

The dismal winter, with cold like a crucifixion of 213 D.Y. (Darwin Year), expressed the chilled core of a regime that possessed a void to replace a heart. It was dusk; the sky was grey and vicious. The clouds smothered what was left of the sun and the day. The cold was cutting into the air. Frost lingered in every cranny. I was homeless, and I was afraid. I was not going to relax in front of a fire in my own house, or eat whatever I wished from my own kitchen. I was hungry amidst the shadows. I was hiding in the town a little too near the Temple of Science, that construction managing to be both glittering and sinister at the same time. People were crowding there for the Solstice of Natural Selection- that is, Darwin Day.

The Temple of Science was always the centre, the focus, of a city. Every Temple had the same form, a linear edifice of glittering metal, stretching up higher than any other building, its vast windows unleashing torrents of light from within. It skewered the sky. The thing was huge, and it illuminated street after street around it. It was the symbol of Darwinia, and I was frightened of it.

Winter was the Darwinian season, the time of death. Trees were stripped bare, everything lay under a frozen darkness, fog provided an eerie covering over the Earth, and the wind sliced across the skin. Not having a bed, not having all the comforts that the citizens of Darwinia could boast, I was always most scared of winter.

Darwin Day replaced what had been Christmas Day, in the era before Year Zero.

Defining Darwinia and all its cruelty was like encountering an incurable tumour eating up a body.

The citizens were taught to cherish all that Darwin asserted- about the survival of the fittest, and nature red in tooth and claw. Darwin was their Lord. There was no need for love any more, no requirement to share or to sympathize; there was only competition, brutality, hatred, turned into a creed, into a religion, into what one ought to do. It was winter forever in people’s souls. Darwin was prayed to, Darwin was preached, Darwin was God.

Darwin Day.


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