This is a special message I am sending to the longtime readers of the Ghion Journal and to the new visitors who are flocking to our website. First and foremost, thank you for trusting us to present analysis of news and current events. We take our role very seriously; we know that our words and our assessments have profound impacts on a large number of people who have come to depend on our fair-minded and independent articles to deconstruct the lies of the establishment.
I want to take this occasion to tell you from whence we’ve come and where we are heading. Twenty-six months ago, the Ghion Journal was nothing more than a vision, a dream of what could be if news and information was shared not through identities or ideologies but through our commonalities. Betty Beke and I launched the website with little resources but big aspirations. We thought it was possible to forsake corporations and depend on people who share our zeal for journalism and truth-seeking to empower us.
However, our decision presented a two fold challenge:
- the broader public is hesitant to accept a news source if it is not blessed by the establishment
- my own reticence of asking people to contribute financially.
I will be very honest, it took me a long time to get to the point where I felt comfortable enough to ask people to contribute to the Ghion Journal. I was conflicted for the longest time, how can I at once rage against the vices of capitalism while eating its fruits. There is a reason why we don’t take corporate contributions or sell ad space. However, no matter how pure our aims, this world bends all of us. If we are to nurture this seed that we planted, we cannot do so without outside support. Instead of choosing the gilded gentry to be our outside support, we elected to go with fellow proletariat who hope and struggle just like us.
Our “give as you can” model was inspired and is predicated on the customs of a slice of heaven on earth that I had the pleasure of visiting during my stay in Northern Colorado. FoCo Cafe is a restaurant in Fort Collins, Colorado that I serendipitously ran into one day and fell instantly in love with. They don’t charge for their food—they don’t believe in price points. Instead, they let customers pay as they can. In one space, I often witnessed homeless folks eating next to business people in expensive suits. Everyone gave as they were able; some ate for free, others gave abundantly. When we let the human spirit of kindness be our guiding light instead of greed, all benefit for it.
The FoCo Cafe model is the foundation on which the Ghion Journal is built upon; we have an audacious dream, not the kind of politicians but the kind of artists and idealists. Instead of being dictated to by the establishment, we aim to reclaim media from corporations and give the people a voice. In a lot of ways, we are more than just a publication, we are an experiment. This is why we give free ad spaces to small businesses and individual entrepreneurs who can prove that they live and serve in the communities they do business in.
Our aim is not to splinter society for the sake of catering to—and profiting from—segregated demographics but to create a bridge where people on different sides of the social divides can come together and have conversations.
This is a radical departure from a media industry that thrives by cleaving society and inducing tribal friction. Outlets like CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and their peers in corporate media flourish by reviving soft-apartheid in America and by monetizing injustice and human suffering. We choose to be different. Perhaps this is not the smartest move for a media entity; what we are doing is the polar opposite of what I learned at Johns Hopkins University when I attained my MBA. But then again, our motive is not profit but to make a difference.
We are a publication of the people, by the people and for the people. These words are not the stuff of corporate taglines, they are the foundation of our enterprise. Corporations and moneyed interests have their public relations arms—otherwise known as mainstream media—we put our faith in you, the people. Together, we will speak truth to power without taking a red cent from corporations.
Our decision to repudiate the establishment and disavow established corporate practices come at a cost. We face a steep hill as social media sites engage in stealth censorship. Facebook and Twitter stifle independent journalists by suppressing the articles of non-corporate writers and publishers in their newsfeeds; this is why a lot of people don’t post article links and instead post them in the comment section. They are attempting to elude algorithms that block or diminish the reach of the articles they are trying to share with others.
Even supposed “progressive” sites like Reddit employ unseemly practices as they exclude most independent media sites and accept mostly corporate media. Although I must note that there are subs within Reddit like r/WayoftheBern and r/Conspiracy who actually foster a free-flow of conversation. Must give credit where credit is due. However, on a broader scale, opinion leaders and the media gateway keepers are loathe to see independent media succeed; they don’t want unaffiliated voices shining a light on their practices. Why do you think Wikileaks is getting tarred and feathered? But in the face of their mendacity, we persist!
— Teodrose Fikre ✒ (@TeodroseFikre) February 9, 2019
Over the coming weeks and months, we are going to continue expanding our capacities at GhionTV—you get to see the growth happen before your eyes. As we enhance the viewing experience, we will interview more people like the one I conducted with Tim Canova last Thursday. As you are moved to do so, you can support the Ghion Journal by either being a Ghion member or making a one time contribution. Just as important, if not more so, please make sure that you support the individual writers of the articles you are reading; the “tip jars” at the bottom of each article are earmarked for the respective writers. 100% of the proceeds from the tip jar go directly to the writers.
The vast majority of Americans are thoroughly repulsed by a media industry that has lost its soul as vacuous personalities—who pretend to be journalists—sell themselves to the same powers they are supposed to be checking. There is a reason why corporate media has an approval rating south of the stomach flu. Yet, as much as we belly ache about mainstream media, we keep feeding the machine that is rupturing society. The onus is not on corporate courtiers to change, we must walk away from the drivel of news-entertainment and walk towards an edifying alternative.
This article thus serves a dual purpose. The first is a request of our readers and viewers to empower us and to contribute on our behalf. But more importantly, we are trying to create a paradigm where reinvestment and building up our communities is sought as a primary aim above and beyond asking the rich and powerful to be our Moses.
We have the power in our hands to lift ourselves up, why then do we expect profiteers who are making fortunes to change a system that is greatly benefiting them? The change will come from us or it won’t come at all. This is a message I discuss as I give an overview of our manifesto in the video at the bottom of this article.
Make no mistake about it, change is not a campaign slogan but an imperative. At the root of most social ills, including climate change that can radically alter life as we know it, is a system of incorporated greed that has indentured humanity as it enriches the oligarchy and their bought and paid for propagandists in the media-politico complex. As we scream and protest against these insidious merchants of destruction, we keep nourishing them with our consumption decisions. The only way to lessen the dangers of runaway capitalism is to starve the beast of corporatism and instead feed our own communities. The Ghion Journal is the clarion call for this change. #GhionManifesto Click To Tweet
This manifesto should not be read through the blinders of ideology or identity. Our project is one that aims to transcend the artificial constructs and dogmas that have been imposed on humanity to keep us at each other’s throats for centuries. That is why I chose the power fist that is a negative photo and shows a enclosed palm instead of a clenched fist. The five fingers, without bias to color, gender, orientation or belief system, are united as one and joined as a show of solidarity. We are a publication that seeks inclusive justice.
Though our footprint is small and our voices are minimal, we have audaciously carved out a safe space for rational discussions and post-partisan conversations. For those who seek discord and food fights, there is a media landscape littered with yellow journalism from which to pick. For people who seek independent analysis and cognitive stimulation, they have Ghion Journal to call home. This is the reason why the number of visitors to our website has grown by factors of ten over the past three weeks—we have reached breakout point.
Our idealism is turning into reality and for this we have our readers and viewers to thank. The people we trusted have armed us with five smooth stones as we take on the Goliath of corporate media. Our pens are our sWORDS, ideas can slay giants::
If you appreciated our audacious dream and believe in empowering truly independent journalists who can discuss weighty issues that splinter society and expose the organized lies of the establishment, consider contributing on our behalf and empowering the Ghion Journal. Thank you.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Lij Teodrose Fikremariam (see all)
- Ethiopia’s Choice: Poverty through Grievance or Prosperity through Unity - September 9, 2019
- Bloody 60s: the Decade that Aborted Leadership in America - August 22, 2019
- A Matter of Life or Death: We Cannot Afford to Ignore Mental Illnesses Any Longer - August 17, 2019