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August 20, 2017

Ghion Journal: Powered by the People; Knowledge to the People


Let me forewarn you; this article is one part self-reflection and another part promotion. You see, a friend once said “Teddy, what is wrong with you, why don’t you monetize your gifts and find ways to make money from Ghion Journal”. Thus the crux of this article is this; to what ends do we chase money and let that invert our purpose in life? I have struggled with this notion for a long time, way before I decided to launch Ghion Journal, I was befuddled and bedeviled by the thought of selling my talent by way of writing books in order to attain talents–talent by the way was money was called during biblical times.

Let me take you on a journey of my past so that you can see where my reticence to chase money comes from. A long time ago, when I was a child, I wanted to be a pastor. My hero of all heroes for a long time was Jimmy Swaggart, the man who was able to coax tears from the audience as he shared a tear drenched testimony of God’s providence. But then homeostasis broke one day and my dream of being a pastor was set asunder at the age of nine. Breaking news would break my heart; my hero Jimmy was found with a prostitute and in the process destroyed the empire he built as well as the hopes of millions of his adherents.

The reason I turned to Jimmy Swaggart was because I found comfort in his words as I was trying hard to fit in as an immigrant in a new country. Being teased as a foreigner for my accent, my second-hand clothes, for the shinkurt (onion) smell that accompanied me outside of my home, for being an Ethiopian in America during the heart of the famine back home–these things appended a large target on my back as a village of Mount Vernon Elementary School 4th grade students mercilessly reduced me to tears with endless teases. I found a reprieve from the teases in the tears and testimony of Jimmy Swaggart, until Jimmy Swaggart was cancelled on TV upon his downfall and with that went my dreams of being a pastor.

From that moment on, I took note of every act of hypocrisy committed by people who feign to be leaders of men. At the core of every treachery and act of negligence of pastors, ministers and authorities of various churches is money. I came to hate churches and money in the process for I realized that most people who pretend to be helping and who feign to be saving souls are really using the bible and God as a hustle to enrich themselves. I’ve gone to endless churches in my life; I rarely stay longer than a couple of months and walk away the minute I realize that these churches are nothing more than a bank with a cross as a logo.

I know this is a long road I just led you on, but I just wanted to give you an insight into the reason why I am so hesitant to monetize my abilities and why I refuse to turn the Ghion Journal into venue to collect ad revenue. This is why I refuse to give ad space to any company with more than a thousand workers and why ad spaces are given for free to companies and businesses who can prove that they are actually giving back to the communities they reside in. I disavow the broken model of the corporate owned mainstream media and refuse to take a penny from ad sponsors. Take this to be fact; the minute a news website takes a dollar from companies, they cease to be news outlets and instead become profit driven prostitutes who are more concerned about money than they are about speaking truth to power or keeping corruption in check.

But then I run into the real world problem of keeping a business a going concern. After all, the Ghion Journal is a business even it’s an enterprise that is drowning in debt at the moment. Although I make no secret of the fact that I detest publicly owned companies and write endlessly of the evils of Wall Street corporations, that does not make me anti-business. What made America great were small business owners and entrepreneurs who set out to make a difference and provide a service as they give to themselves. I am an entrepreneur; what I refuse to be is a corporation. There is a vast gap between entrepreneurs who care about their customers and corporations who only seek to harvest customers in order to maximize profits. Parenthetically, if you are a business owner and want to advertise on Ghion Journal at no cost, click this LINK here to find out how.

The solution I arrived at is thus to disavow ad sponsorship all together and instead depend on the contributions of Ghion Journal readers and Ghion Cast viewers (see Ghion Cast below). I arrived at this decision through months and months of deliberation for the last thing I wanted to do was to become another hypocrite using my gifts to enrich myself as I professed to be a change agent. Through countless conversations with friends and strangers alike, I realized that I put too much pressure on myself to be perfect and that I let myself be imprisoned by the past. As long as I know that I am not letting money be my hidden motive there is nothing wrong with earning a keep based on the talents we are given.

So in a way, life goes full circle. I spent a lifetime rebelling against God and living a life of debauchery in ways that would impress Sampson. Thank God I did not have to go blind before I decided to stop chasing the pleasures of the flesh–although I did lose my hair like Sampson did. Through it all, without knowing it, I’ve always been sharing testimonies of life and helping others through the words that I write and the messages that I speak. The Ghion Journal is not a church nor am I a pastor, I am just a writer who has been influenced by a litany of books, people, and conversations in my life. Goes to show, one does not need a title in order to make a difference.

The decision I’ve thus made is to give to the world and have faith that the world will give back as well. Though I still find myself repelled at times with the idea of money and the idealist in me wants to live a life of penury and be pure in my heart, I realize that purists end up being homeless. I’ve sauntered on that road and realized that no difference can be made while struggling from one shelter to another. I’ve arrived at the wisdom that is gained through hardship and realized the knowledge that my dad tried his best to teach me–may he rest in peace. The blessing is found in the middle, no need to be a purist nor be selfish. We can live a balanced life of nurturing ourselves while giving to others but those who do only one or the other will lead a self-induced life of hardship.

The Ghion Journal is thus a venue to share these testimonies and pearls of wisdom to others who are on a journey of discovery. I turn moments and snapshots in time into stories which are relatable to others and in the process speak against the excesses of this world as I stand firmly against the powerful who are consuming the world with their greed. What I hope the readers of Ghion Journal see through my words is that unity and love are the only way to overcome injustice. The tag line is thus “fight ignorance with knowledge” for fighting hatred with hatred and residing in ignorance in order to take on ignorance profits none.

The Ghion Journal is a platform for thinkers and those who want to go beyond the narrow confines of identity and walk into the wide lanes of unity. If you are new to the Ghion Journal, welcome aboard and make yourself at home. We publish at least one article a day and occasionally two. There are two other writers besides me who write once a week or as they are able. So for the most part, most of the articles are written by me out of necessity but I’m always looking to add writers who are able to convey provocative and original thoughts without being divisive. If you are that person, email us at info@ghionjournal.com with a sample writing. However, if you are here simply looking to read articles that challenges conventional wisdom and dogma and does so in a way that is not sensationalist or outrageous, you found a home at the Ghion Journal. Bookmark this site and make sure you sign up for push notifications below (red bell icon) so that you can be informed when new articles come out.

So where will your contributions go? Outside of the day to day operational cost of running a website such as web hosting, email, marketing, event costs etc, I first and foremost want to get to a point where I pay writers for their work. For the time being, every writer (including myself) contributes based on the love we have of writing. But writers are artists and just like artists, we depend on the patronage of our work by those who love our work. The model that I want to eventually implement is profit sharing with writers where they get paid a base pay for each article then the profits will be split evenly among writers based on the percentage of hits that is attributable to each writer.

Moreover, at some point, I want to dedicate more of my time to actually covering stories in person instead of writing about people based on observation from a distance. I want to deploy to various cities and localities and write about the wonderful stories that are uncovered when we simply talk to one another. So some of the funds will go towards procuring a means of transportation, covering traveling costs, and enhancing the assets that I use (beat up computer and an $80 webcam) so that I can put a bit more quality to the production in ways that matches the message. Most importantly, as I am blessed by the kindness of others, I want to bless others who struggle back with the same kindness. Thus, at the core of Ghion Journal will always be to give back to those who suffer alone for it was only the grace of God and the love of strangers that sustained me when I had nothing to my name and called pavements home.

What I hope I presented to you in this article is a business case for kindness. In Ethiopia, the word hebret means the essence of two or more people working together in order to help each other become more successful. There is a way to find wealth by giving to others. I wrote in the past about a local restaurant called FoCo Cafe who give free lunches to everyone and they just ask people to pay as they can. FoCo Cafe (link) is thriving using this model of hebret and in the process have built a piece of heaven on earth as homeless people eat in the same space and place as the well to do. When we stop affixing prices to everything and instead trust in the -goodness of people, the generosity of people will come out all the time.

We are here to make a difference and we will not drink from the poisoned chalice of corporations in order to speak against them. Instead, we turn to the people, the masses who yearn to make a difference as well, and ask that you go on a journey with us to discover truth and to speak truth to power. We also ask you to contribute as you can through the contribute link below or by clicking HERE. A message after all can’t be herd without the means to get the message out there, so we are depending on the people to empower the Ghion Journal so that the Ghion Journal can speak truth to power. #Be2ndGhion

You can contribute below by clicking on the Donate button below and the same button can be found at the top of this website if you want to contribute in the future. But just know, above all, that the biggest contribution of them all is to just be a part of the Ghion Journal and to tell others about the stories you find here. Beyond that, if you really want to make a difference in this world, just give people kindness and the love that is within you. A smile and an act of love does more to heal the world than all the words of every language combined. If you loved this article and the message behind it, love reading the Ghion Journal, and want others to find out about us, share this article on social media using #Be2ndGhion. Thank you and remain always blessed.

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Check out the Ghion Cast below, the Ghion Cast is a pod cast that I record once a week and, using a mix of music and message, convey a narrative that is at once topical and germane to the issues we all face.

Teodrose Fikre
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Teodrose Fikre

Founder at Ghion Journal
Teodrose Fikre is a published author and a prolific writer whose speech idea was incorporated into Barack Obama's south Carolina victory speech in 2008. Once thoroughly entangled in politics and a partisan loyalist, a mugging by way of reality shed political blinders from Teodore's eyes and led him on a journey to fight for universal justice.

Teodrose was born in Ethiopia the same year Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed by the communist Derg junta. The great grandson five generations removed of Atse (emperor) Tewodros Kassa II, the greatest king of Ethiopia, Teodrose is clearly influenced by the history and his connection to Ethiopia. Through his experiences growing up as first generation refugee in America, Teodrose writes poignantly about the universal experiences of joys, pains and a hope for a better tomorrow that binds all of humanity.

Teodrose has written extensively about the intersection of politics, economic policies, identity, and history. He is the author of "Serendipity's Trace" and newly released "Soul to Soil", two works that inspect the ways we are dissected as a people and shows how we can overcome injustice through the inclusive vision of togetherness.
Teodrose Fikre
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