Firstly, I'd like to extend my best wishes for the new year to everyone who is reading this. I hope you, your friends and families are blessed this year with all the good health, prosperity and happiness that you all deserve.
Upon reading Vincent Bevins' 'The Jakarta Method: Washington's Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World', I realize that the specious premise many in the First World have been sold of the Cold War being a battle of morally righteous, white and selfless Americans starting down Boris Badenov cum Ernst Stavros Blofeld Russian apparatchiks were fallacious, mendacious and just plain wrong.
Alcohol is the second consumable and addictive substance I have used over a long term which I have quit using. The other is nicotine. This might sound glib, but I found quitting smoking to be fairly stress free. Once I finished the pack of Nicorette gum that I bought for myself way back in 2012, I have never once considered polluting my lungs with tobacco fumes. Refraining from drinking has been more of an adventure; and one I want to write about.
The road signs on my journey to becoming a climate activist are marked by the following: two countries, two disasters, two fossils. And, above all else, my internationalist appreciation for the value of life; be it in our own neighborhoods, halfway around the world or in the future, has been my guiding light in encouraging others to join this fight.
I write this article as someone who has never experienced first-hand the types of bastardry, misanthropy or tyranny that I am about to describe and refer to. On the contrary, I write it as someone who has been blessed by the type of living, schooling and housing that my great grandparents' generation could not fathom. I write it as a son, brother, husband, runner, podcaster, environmentalist, bilingual, bibliophile and human rights activist.
The time of my secondary school graduation, 1998, still resonates like an earworm song. Early December was crackling with unspoken pressure as this was when final grades were given. They would determine both my tertiary education and employment prospects, and felt like the final arbiter of my existential value. I was reduced to anxious tears as so much hinged on them.