…I didn’t have a lot of anything in the spring of 2017. Well, with the exception of love from a soulmate who not only believed in me, but who stood by me through the damage and panic attacks and self-loathing which was the legacy of the old life’s grisly end.
And the reason my love believed in me? Beneath all the rubble, a light was still shining through the cracked fragments. That promise I made to myself was about to be broken by that cursedly curious mind of mine, abetted by the same defect which meant the whistleblowing was possible in the first place.
And so I turned my attentions to disinformation, elections, the far-right, and Russia.
Starting from nothing, I battered my way into journalism. Gathered a following and crowdfunding at Byline, and eventually managed to scoop the story which changed everything: Russia had engaged the West in hybrid warfare and won, destabilising its long-term adversaries with electoral interference planned over years. Deploying the most ruthless of all psychological weapons to drive wedges into every seam of our society, creating chaos. The installation of malware for the soul. A virus for the human mind.
When Alternative War was first released as a public interest project in 2017, barely anybody believed it. The trolling was intense, tasked, and incredibly damaging. I was dismissed and disbelieved at every step, leaving me burnt-out and demoralised.
And worse still, because I had started to come around to the idea of people being better than I dared believe, some other journalists laid into me to. From their privileged positions of stable jobs with nothing to lose.
This is only a shadow of the privilege which affects billions every day, and it was soul destroying.
Though the security services eventually caught up, and the media sneering was replaced with growing acceptance, I had seen enough. And the echoes from my time before the truth came out in the parliamentary inquiry were too much. Old scars had been re-opened – because in this world you can’t really do right until it also suits somebody else’s agenda. Or circulation figures.
We truly deserve better in this world, but we don’t have better yet. And who knows if we ever will. Battered and bruised, exhausted, I resigned myself to near defeat.
But that soft voice was still there. That love of mine. Whispering to me carry on the journey home. Smiling at me gently as she told me to take as many people along as possible.
And so I opened more doors. And now I’m opening them to you.
Because we do deserve better. And they only way we can get there is together…
Come Home continues tomorrow.