When my wife and I first launched the Ghion Journal in January of 2017, we made a moral decision to refuse advertisement money from corporations in order to avoid the pitfall that all of mainstream media and a lot of independent journalists fall into. One cannot practice journalism and accept corporate contributions concurrently because one will hate the former in order to appease the latter. Outside of the community space we reserve for local/regional businesses and entrepreneurs who can prove that they are doing good for their community, Ghion Journal is an ad-free website.
Instead of accepting corporate bribes by way of ad revenues, we decided to turn towards a contribution model where people would give financially as they are able. Even this minimalist step was a concession to my wife Bethlehem Bekele who was a bank manager before she decided to forgo her career in order to focus on raising our son. Proving that God puts husband and wife together in order to sharpen each other like iron and guide both towards a middle ground, Bethlehem is an entrepreneur at heart and I’m more of the idealist who does not want to sully my craft by turning it into a business.
I’ve struggled with the idea of leveraging my ability to write and reach people as a means of making money. My idealism border on naivety, so much so that I ended up becoming homeless in 2015 after starting a business where I funded 97% of the venture only to make a couple of friends who were hustlers more than they were businessmen into equal partners. Do you know what happens when you make two shady characters into equal partners? They squeeze you out and soon enough you become indigent. That is but a part of the reason that I became homeless for two years. There are other parts of that story that I’ve given to God and that I might tell one day.
One minute a high-priced consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton—the same company that Edward Snowden worked at parenthetically—the next minute living in a homeless shelter in Greenville, South Carolina, I took on a Jobian tribulation. As hard and heartbreaking as my two-year odyssey into privation was, I would not replace a minute of it. I learned more in rescue missions in South Carolina, Iowa, Tennessee and Colorado than I did during my 8 years at Booz and the four years I was indoctrinated at Johns Hopkins University while attaining an MBA. Witnessing the struggles of so many people of all shades of and belief systems compelled me to disavow identity politics and ideologies and instead latch on to our common humanity as I detailed when I hosted a radio show for the first time this week.
By God’s grace and the kindness of so many people, I emerged from the abyss of homelessness—everything I lost was restored tenfold. I went from Jobian tribulations to a Jobian restoration. The full story of my redemption and how Bethelem and I made a love connection even though we were 2,000 miles apart and had never met each other until fate intervened is one that I’m detailing in a book titled “Our Love Grows”. I want to claim credit for our chance encounter but truly it was God’s doing. I don’t know how else to explain our love story; Bethlehem is a beautiful soul inside and out and a very accomplished banker at that time and here I was a penniless man living at a shelter called Harvest Farm in Colorado. Love overcame all obstacles and here we stand united in marriage and in purpose.
Where many saw only brokenness and talked about me in past-tense, Bethlehem saw my light and loved me for it. She became her first name and delivered me, her love restored my last name Fikre which means my love in Amharic.
We connected on December 1st, 2016, early that morning I wrote an ode to women titled “Memo to shE” and posted it on Facebook. Bethlehem read my post, immediately liked it and inboxed me to convey her appreciation. We added each other as friends and then chatted throughout the day; each time I had a 15-minute break from working as a cook in the cafeteria, I would go to the computer room to message her. She eventually told me to call her, I was afraid to tell her that I did not have a phone. She insisted and I told her about my plight; instead of hanging up, she said “so what “and told me to ask someone if I can use their phone. If you think I am driven, wait until you meet Bethlehem! Her passion for justice and giving back to society is only exceeded by her excellence as a mother.
Aside from God, it was Bethlehem’s kindness and healing touch that led me away from the dark hole of brokenness to the light of love. Everyone gives me credit for the Ghion Journal because I am the one who is visible, but this website would not be in existence without Bethlehem. When she met me virtually, I was not writing at an online publication, I was only posting my outlooks on Facebook. After she read a couple of my reflections and talking to me over the phone for a couple of days, Bethlehem insisted that I stop writing on social media and instead start a website. Behind every successful man is a woman who inspires him with love and encourages him to do better; women sacrifice their ribs for men and give the marrow that nourishes them.
The video below is one I put together dedicated to my wife Bethlehem. The first picture after the intro is one I took of her when she came to visit me at Harvest Farm, Colorado. Watching the video always moves me to tears. There are so many people who are broken by homelessness and who suffer on a daily basis yet God loves me so much that he saw it fit to pluck me out of homelessness and delivered me into a house that is overflowing with an abundance of love. It is not lost on me the poetry of her name; she literally salved my heart and saved me from a life of bitterness. That is why wherever she goes, I will go too. My wfie is the bone of my bone, and the flesh of my flesh who gave me the greatest gift by the name of Yohannes. Our bundle of blessings makes a guest appearance at the end of this video.
Bethlehem and I kicked around a couple of ideas for the name of our soon-to-be online publication and eventually settled on the Ghion Journal. Seeing that I was financially challenged at the time, she paid for the domain name and the hosting service with GoDaddy. A couple of weeks after Bethlehem and I linked up, we launched the Ghion Journal. Far from turning me into a money-hungry blogger, homelessness had the opposite effect as I was determined to speak against the evils of corporatism that is the foundation of a global pyramid scheme that enriches a few and impoverishes billions. The thought of making fortunes while pretending to care about the misfortunes of others is one I could not abide even as Bethlehem insisted that I somehow get compensated for the work I put into the Ghion Journal.
The contribution model was the compromise between Bethlehem’s banking savvy and my puritanical outlook. We settled on “give as you can” as our ask after eating at an eatery in Fort Collins, Colorado called FoCo Cafe. Instead of charging money for food, the FoCo cafe allows people to give as they can as a form of payment. Eating there was like heaven on earth; in the same space, rich and poor folks ate together without partitions dividing one from the other. The former paid a lot of money while the latter paid nothing at all; the owners of FoCo Cafe succeeded in business without placing profits over people. If only this was the way capitalism worked instead of turning greed into a virtue, our planet would not be burning up at this moment.
The Ghion Journal followed the “give as you can” model for the past five years in order to defray some of the costs of hosting this website and other expenses like marketing and email services. We were still in the red on a month-over-month basis but I was able to find a job once I moved back to Virginia that paid well enough for me to provide for my family, so writing became a pursuit of passion not one of survival. Even though the Ghion Journal is a money loser for us, my desire to be a part of a change and my determination to somehow speak up for people who are not able more than compensates for the loss of income as a consequence of keeping Ghion Journal viable.
Two weeks ago, the “give as you can” model was thrown over the side after I ran into a homeless man named Joseph—a story that I detailed in the video below—that reminded me of my struggles and the guilt that I feel all too often for escaping the bondage of destitution. I decided that day to stop asking people to contribute to the Ghion Journal and instead requested that our readers give money that they would have given to us to homeless people. This decision took me back to my puritanical outlook; I’ve always struggled with asking people to give to the Ghion Journal and seeing Joseph begging for food on the streets of DC only amplified this aversion that I have to money.
I’m not sure why I am so repulsed by money, perhaps it’s because I grew up in churches watching them pass around collection plates and silently chaffing knowing that they are at once worshiping Yeshua while forsaking His central message of not trading money in His father’s temple. Maybe it was the guilt that I felt making six figures at Booz Allen Hamilton while the soldiers I was supporting were making a third of my salary. Perhaps watching my dad work multiple jobs at a time—slaving away 16 hours a day between his cab, post office and side-hustles to provide for us—that made me hate the way money destroys so many families around the world.
Whatever the cause of my allergy to money was, I found myself forsaking it once again as I wrote at the bottom of my articles that people should not give to the Ghion Journal anymore. My idealism got mugged with the reality of a malicious act of censorship five days ago. After publishing an article about NIH’s prior knowledge that the Covid-19 “vaccines” carry a “specific and significant COVID-19 risk of ADE” which went viral globally, we were hit with a massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack that took down the Ghion Journal for close to five hours. We had to invest a lot of money with Godaddy to upgrade the hosting plan and beef up our firewall protection.
Over the past three months, I’ve had my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Reddit accounts all deleted for the crime of reporting news as a journalist. The malicious accusation that led to my silencing is that I was spreading disinformation. To wit, going back to eight months ago, I noted:
- that Covid-19 was most likely a man-made virus
- that natural immunization is better than synthetic immunization by way of Covid “vaccines”
- that Antibody-Dependent Enhancement was a very real possibility for people who got jabbed
- that the vaccines are not safe and effective
On all four fronts, recent developments have vindicated me. Yet like minders in North Korea, social media corporations have been targeting anyone who dares to question the “vaccine” agenda. It’s one thing to be deplatformed, but having a sophisticated DDOS attack initiated on this website because I reported about NIH’s intentional suppression of ADE risks associated with the “vaccines” was truly a shocking development to witness.
Two days later, I heard chatter that my job is most likely moving towards some form of mandatory “vaccination” scheme despite the fact that people are dropping dead left and right after getting jabbed. Given the DDOS attack on our website and the threat of potentially losing my job as a consequence of refusing to take part in these ongoing medical experiments, I had to revisit the decision I made recently about not asking people to contribute to the Ghion Journal. As long as I am wedded to a 9-5 job, my ability to pursue journalism will always be inhibited. If I end up unemployed, the Ghion Journal will be shuttered like it was last year when the stresses of finding a new job led to a tailspin of anxiety. The thought of once again being homeless kept me up at night for months on end.
I am thus asking longtime readers and people who are new to the Ghion Journal to contribute to our website. There are hundreds of people who reach out to me on a regular basis encouraging me to keep writing and letting me know how valuable of a service we are providing to humanity. I am thankful for every one of these emails, DMs and text messages. As much as I am loath to say this, the truth is that money is a necessary evil and my idealism is preventing the Ghion Journal from being more robust and growing as a media company. In an age where mainstream media have completely lost their minds and decided to throw their lot with the very powers they are supposed to check, truly independent media is needed more than ever.
For the past five years, in a lot of ways, I have been freewheeling it as I wrote about issues and events as they came to mind. While this allowed our website to be very organic, the lack of structure has turned this endeavor into one driven by the pen of one man. As has happened in the past, if I get burned out or hit a rough patch and stop writing for almost a year, the Ghion Journal’s ability to remain a going concern will very much be in question. In order to ensure that I can pursue journalism without fearing the loss of employment, I have decided to listen to my wife and find a way to be compensated for my work at the Ghion Journal.
Find a way to share your light because there’s no one that can share it for you!
— Bethlehem Bekele (@BettyBeke) July 10, 2021
Moreover, given the DDOS attack and the fact that our website’s traffic has exploded recently, we have to keep investing in more robust hosting plans and continue to bolster our security countermeasures, the cost of running this website is becoming untenable for two people to do it on their own. I am asking our readers to contribute to us by either being a subscriber or by making contributions as you are able. You can click HERE or scroll down to the bottom to make a one-time or an ongoing contribution.For five years, @BettyBeke and @Teodrose_Fikre have been working tirelessly to speak truth to power and to give voice to the voiceless, our aim is not riches but the wealth that comes with standing for justice. #Change4Ghion Click To Tweet
As you can tell, I am very uncomfortable asking people to contribute to the Ghion Journal. If it was up to me, the whole world would operate the way the FoCo Cafe does where we would be governed by our hearts instead of profit motives. Imagine a world where the value of products is not based on price points but on kindness as we give unselfishly and take according to the fruits of our labor. Global suffering would be greatly reduced and poverty would almost be eradicated if we adopted this model. Sadly, we do not live in that world so I must do as Peter advised and conform to this world in order to not be broken by it.
As reticent as I am to ask our readers and new visitors to contribute to our endeavor, there is another part of me that has always been saddened by the lack of willingness by so many to empower their family members, friends and community members who decide to become entrepreneurs. So much so that I wrote an open letter to artists and business people who harbor grudges because many who are the closest to them refuse to see their light or further their dreams.
Many part with their money as they “donate” to millionaire politicians, who are on the dole of globalist billionaires, only to become stingy misers when it comes to patronizing people who live right among them. I’ve been hearing for years that I should write for the likes of the New Yorker or Rolling Stones so that my work could reach a wider audience. Though I know people say that as a form of encouragement, there is a sense of pique that comes over me when I hear people say that I should go corporate.
Why do I need to be “blessed” by mainstream media—why must I be discovered by gatekeepers—for people to properly value my work?
I have no illusion of becoming a millionaire from my articles; if my aim was riches, I would turn into a grievance peddling demagogue and write for the likes of Washington Post or New York Times. My passion was, is and will always remain speaking truth to power and giving voice to the voiceless; it is my hope that you can “give as you can” if you find my work and our publication to be of value so I can continue to question media narratives and call out the hypocrisy of the establishment without fearing repercussions for seeking truth in the age of pervasive misinformation.
“Not only must we be good, but we must also be good for something.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
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