Update: Friday, September 17, 2021: I just ran into a reporter from the Washington Post and I learned yet again to avoid collectively judgement. The reporter’s name escapes me because I haven’t slept in almost two days due to a hectic work schedule, but his random act of kindness reaffirmed that we are all in this morass together and the only way to extricate ourselves from this time of peril is through inclusive justice for ALL OF HUMANITY. This article below, written almost two months ago, is my journey from grievance to forgiveness which paved the way for my redemption.
I‘ve been waging a war of sorts for the past seven months against the mass-inoculation propaganda that is being pushed down our throats by the establishment. People who have been reading my writings know that I do not mince words when it comes to castigating politicians, mainstream media personalities and opinion leaders writ large for furthering the social divides that are gashing our country and beyond. This is especially true in the context of this dreaded pandemic; instead of uniting us, they are hell-bent on turning us against one another and sowing the seeds of strife that can sprout and lead to catastrophic violence.
But something happened this week that made me pause and reflect. I got into a pretty heated debate with a “vaccinated” family member whom I love dearly. I have a standing principle with respect to my pro-logic and evidence-based advocacy against these experimental boosters; when I find out someone has been jabbed, I pull my punches and refuse to go all out to get my point across. There is nothing they can do once they get “vaccinated”, the only outcome of me emptying the chamber and convincing them that the “vaccines” are unsafe and ineffective is to induce anxiety into their hearts.
This past Wednesday, I abandoned this tenet of mine to my great regret. This family member, whose identity I will not reveal, resorted to what I felt were strawmen tactics and the very ad hominem antics that are used by bad-faith actors when it comes to debating the “vaccines”. One thing I do not abide is bullies; I push back severely when I see people trying to diminish me or anyone else. So I decided to pull out the Howitzer and sent one fact-missile after another to my unnamed relative. The argument ended with him withdrawing from the text-based debate.
I initially reveled at my victory only to wake up the next day shrouded in remorse. I wondered if I ended up giving him the very anxiety that I sought to shield him from as I kept pulling my punches each time he peddled fear-driven articles in an attempt to convince other family members to get “vaccinated”. I am in tears at this exact moment writing this missive praying that I did not imbue his heart with worries that he did not have before our virtual bickering session. This ennui I’m battling made me reassess my ways; I started wondering if I am creating the very strife that I’m trying to dissipate by fanning fires with my words instead of offering the water of love that can douse the infernos of hate and division that are searing society into a crisp.
I woke up yesterday still enveloped by this feeling of sorrow when I turned to CNN to catch the latest “news” only to hear Joe Biden and his Press Secretary Jen Psaki advocating that people like me should be deplatformed from all social media sites. Unhinged Biden went one step further and directly accused people who share their “vaccine” injuries or post their concerns about Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson’s snake oils of killing people. This is the president of the United States reverting to the tactics of Nazis as he demonizes and vilifies the “unvaccinated” the same way Hitler dehumanized Jews as the “unwashed” who needed to be dealt with. Hateful rhetoric like the one Biden is using is a womb from which mass atrocities are birthed as evidenced by Auschwitz, Dachau and what FDR did to Japanese-Americans at the same time Gestapo thugs were exterminating Jews who were vilified by their government.
In an instant, I went from contrition to rage. I thought about writing a scorched-earth article in response to Biden’s latest tyrannical moves but something told me to wait. I dropped my wife off at an event for mothers and then proceeded to have a father-son day. While I was driving to DC, a thought occurred to me; perhaps I should reveal the full scope of what happened to me in 2015 when I went from being a high-priced Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton to a homeless man in Greenville, South Carolina. I have shared snippets of that story but I did not go into detail because the events that led to my dispossession are too surreal to believe.
I decided to call my friend Perry, who happens to belong in the same fraternity that I used to be a part of, to ask him for advice. I told him everything and then sought his council. He listened fully and then told me to pray before I do anything because telling that story could end up putting me right back in the crosshairs that I escaped from by the grace of God. I took his advice and pressed pause rather than rushing to publish whatever comes to mind like I usually do. Instead of writing an article yesterday, I opted to spend quality time with my son Yohannes. That is when the magic of the day started to manifest itself.
As Yohannes and I were walking to Eastern Market in DC, a homeless man asked me to buy him a bottle of Pepsi. This request was so out of the norm in terms of homeless people asking for help that it stopped me in my tracks. He was sitting outside of a 7-11 so I told him that I will buy him the Pepsi and went inside to do just that. Not only did I buy him the bottle of Pepsi, I also bought him two sandwiches, a tuna wrap, two bags of chips and requested ten dollars back from the cashier. I headed back to the homeless man and gave him the bag of goods and the $10 bill. He thanked me profusely. I then did something that most of us don’t do when we give to the homeless. I asked him what his name was. He told me that his name was Joseph, shared with me that he used to be a teacher and told me that I have an exceptionally gifted son.
I was stunned and completely overcome by emotions. In 2015—a couple of weeks before I myself became homeless—as I was walking down Georgia Avenue preparing for a grand opening of a shisha bar I founded called Oove Lounge, I ran into a homeless man who asked me to buy him food. I detailed the full story in one of the first articles I wrote for the Ghion Journal titled “My Love and My Legacy“. The way the homeless man by 7-11 reached my heart, the homeless man on Georgia Avenue did the same in 2015. His name was also Joseph! That is when I knew that there was a purpose to the events that unfolded yesterday and became intent on being fully observant because that might be God trying to tell me what actions to take by reaching me through strangers.
I took my son to Le Pain Quotidien to grab some breakfast. As soon as we sat down, a lady who I assume was the manager came over to greet us and gave my son crayons to draw with. I told her about my encounter with Joseph; she was awestruck by what I told her in ways that let me know that she was a fellow empath who goes out of her way to help others even if it comes at the expense of herself. I then asked her what her name was. She told me her name was Isabel and when I asked her what Le Pain Quotidien means, she told me it means “the daily bread” in French. Life can be so poetic if we only observe its rhythms instead of being stuck on its discord.
As much as she was enthralled in our conversation, she kept smiling as she watched my son Yohannes play around the restaurant. Something told me to ask her if she was a teacher given her loving disposition towards my son. She affirmed that she was at which point I asked her what she used to do when kids insisted on asking questions. She said the only time that she steps in is if children are being unruly and disrupting others from learning but that if they are asking out of curiosity, she makes the time to answer each and every question until they are satisfied.
Her words were like a balm on the scars from my childhood that have not fully healed to this day. I used to get in trouble consistently for asking questions; my inquiries were rewarded with countless rounds of detention. Punishing children and adults who question authority is something that has been done throughout the scope of human history; people who rebel against the status quo are crucified only to be vindicated posthumously. Talking to Isabel gave me hope that maybe one day we will arrive at a point where we encourage free-thinkers instead of dismissing them as “conspiracy theorists” and diminishing them as “anti-vaxxers” for daring to question the establishment.
After we finished our breakfast, my son and I strolled through the farmers’ market that was being held at Eastern Market. As we walked by a tent that was displaying art from the continent that was once called Ethiopia before it was renamed to honor Scipio, I saw one particular mural that caught my eyes. I went over to the vendor to ask him about the price and he told me it was $50. It was a no-brainer; I decided to purchase it on the spot and empower a local entrepreneur in the process instead of rewarding uber-billionaire Jeff Bezos by purchasing his trinkets on Amazon. I told the vendor that I was from Ethiopia and he shared with me that he is from Mali. I asked him what his name was, he told me that his name was Moses!
I shook my head because I realized that I was being given the answers that I was searching for. I’ve never heard the voice of God; I think people who claim that they have are either opportunists or might be suffering from maladies. But I have heard from God by way of countless family members, friends and strangers alike as they guided me to the right path every time I was going astray. As Moses and I were talking, a guy with a bag that was emblazoned with the Jamaican flag on it walked over to us. I asked him his name and he said his name was Menelik!
Menelik is the son that Queen Sheba conceived after King Solomon hoodwinked her into having sex with him. The King and Queens of Ethiopia who referred to themselves as part of the Solomonic Dynasty—including my forefather by the name of Atse Tewodros II—all trace their lineage to Queen Sheba and King Solomon. I don’t say this to claim royalty by any means; I made that mistake two years ago only to suffer the consequences for that type of arrogance. Though I am proud to be directly connected to Atse Tewodros because he is one of my biggest heroes, in my heart I believe that all of us are royal because 7.6 billion around the world are direct descendants of one who was created by God who became two and eventually begat billions.
After wrapping up the conversation with Moses and Menelik, my son and I kept walking through the farmers’ market only for my son to pull me towards a man who was singing a song on the corner. My son loves music and dances each time he hears melodies; the singer acknowledged my son and then offered me a hand towel because he saw me sweating profusely. As he was singing and asking for donations, he was kind enough to offer me a present instead of asking me for money. I told him that I was going to withdraw money from CVS and be right back to support him for his music and his kindness. His name was David!
I took out $20 and asked the cashier to give me one five-dollar bill and the rest all ones. I wanted to give David a five and then homeless people that were amassed at Eastern Market $2 apiece. As I was walking back, my son pulled me to a man who was playing the violin and then proceeds to dance with joy as the soloist was strumming beautiful music. I gave him $2 and then walked back to the singer to give him $5. David smiled and said that I was a man of my words and that my son was lucky to have a father like me. The money I gave David was nothing compared to the riches he rewarded me with; he too lessened the pains of rejection I’ve harbored in my heart for a long time because my father, as much as I love him, rarely told me that I did a good job.
When you seek the beauties of the world irrespective of the suffering that abounds & give compassionately instead of demanding justice only for your own, life will literally serenade you and sad songs will be transformed into melodies. These are lessons I’m learning from my son. pic.twitter.com/6GkZ8klHU7
— Teodrose Fikremariam (@Teodrose_Fikre) July 17, 2021
As we were heading back to the car, I saw another homeless man who was asking for money. I stopped by to give him $2 and asked him what his name was. He responded Mark! All the people I encountered had spiritual names including Isabel whose name means “pledged to God”. I decided a couple of weeks ago to reserve Sundays to share my views on current events and politics through the prism of faith. I do so not to convert or evangelize because “saving people” is not my job; I have a hard enough time doing right by God for me to pretend like I can be a savior for others. I share these experiences through the lens of the Bible not to preach but to share my testimonies in ways that can reach Jews, Christians, Muslims and all believers of a Creator and those who don’t believe at all alike.
Interspersed throughout this article are my podcasts—including the one below which encapsulates the events that unfolded yesterday— that are informed by faith as much as they are by way of exhaustive research. For too long, religion has been a source of division, instead of honoring God, people who pretend to be spiritual keep consuming the spirits of ego only to get drunk on power and give hangovers to the vast majority of humanity. My aim in conveying some of my views through faith is not to be religious but to be humble and seek common grounds between believers, atheists and everyone else. The same can be said of people who share differing complexions and complexities of thought, we can value our differences but we must not forget what makes us one.
What I gleaned from yesterday and what I hope you take away from this article is that we can be angels to each other and heal one another or we can be devils and pass on to others the pains that we imposed upon us. I am not saying this to preach, it is the hardest thing to be the light of love when someone is throwing the shades of hatred your way. Yet in my heart, I know that the only way to overcome evil is to be empathetic and kind. Martin Luther King Jr.—who was murdered at the behest of J. Edgar Hoover and COINTELPRO—once said:
“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
We must remember this central message which was derived from Yeshua (later renamed to Jesus) who taught us to let love be the supreme law that guides our hearts and minds. If we insist on returning malice with antipathy, the only thing we will do is amplify the very evils that are cratering humanity. I will give zero quarters to authority figures like Biden, Macron and their ilk who leverage their powers to implement policies that create the very suffering they pretend to care about. But for the rest of us, it is imperative to be compassionate to one another instead of bashing fellow victims.
Almost five decades ago, two giants—one of politics and the other of civil rights—were gunned down in their prime because they had the audacity to challenge and try to change the status quo. Both men were flawed yet God used them for a greater purpose. Martin Luther King’s central message was love and Bobby Kennedy’s core belief was that Americans have to get beyond race and fight for our common humanity. When Martin Luther King was assassinated, Bobby traveled to Indianapolis and gave a speech that gave comfort to an audience that needed it the most.
One a “black” man, the other “white”, the former fiercely independent, the latter a partisan Democrat, Martin Luther King and Robert Francis Kennedy were polar opposite yet they were joined by their common humanity and their common works to eradicate inequality as they sought inclusive justice.
While almost every major city burned as riots inspired by MLK’s murder ravaged across America, Indianapolis remained peaceful. Such is the power of love. Two months later, Bobby was gunned down as well. They killed the messengers, but their message lives on. If we have any hope of bending the long arc of history towards justice, we must emulate MLK and RFK and disavow the malice of the assassins and their backers who took their lives.
Below is the full speech that Bobby Kennedy gave at Indianapolis the day Martin Luther King was shot; I cannot go through the speech without shedding tears for what our nation and the world could have become if only they were allowed to fulfill their potential. The title of this article is an homage to both Martin Luther King and Robert Francis Kennedy, MLK wisely said “only love can drive out hate” and RFK gave a speech titled “the mindless menace of violence” which is one of the greatest speeches I’ve ever heard.
We have been through a lot over the past 18 months, the fear of a deadly virus entering our homes, the anguish of losing loved ones, the sorrows of social isolation and the financial anxieties induced by this pandemic have become albatrosses around our collective necks. Irrespective of our views on the “vaccines”, we would do well to be kind to each other instead of bludgeoning each other over our political or identity-based differences. For too long, we have let a few billionaires indenture billions of people because we keep falling for the divide and destroy tactics. At long last, we must say enough and refuse to take the bait when we are being emotionally manipulated to attack one another by snakes like Dr. Vivek Murthy and his lot. Our refusal to unite could very well lead us to our final dissolution.
Another lesson I learned yesterday is that it is better to spend more time connected to people offline than it is to be connected virtually and chatting with others through text. Yesterday morning, as I was scrolling through my Instagram notifications, one particular person came at me with such vitriol that I questioned his wellness. The old me would have spent half the day trading barbs with this man, it’s only because I ignored his pernicious entreaties that I was blessed to meet Joseph, Isabel, Moses, Menelik and Mark. Most importantly, if my default mode was bitterness instead of love, I would never have met my wife Bethlehem nor would I have a son named Yohannes. Parenthetically, Yohannes is John the Baptist’s original name before it was changed by Constantine’s Council of Nicea.
As to whether I’m going to share my story about what really happened to me in 2015, I am still praying about that. This morning, as I headed to Starbucks to write this article, I saw two police cruisers in the parking lot. I approached one of the police officers and asked him if he knew Officer Beaufort from the Fairfax PD McLean District. He stated that he did and I then asked him for advice. I told him that Officer Beaufort saved my life in 2015 and that I wanted to tell that story but I fear that I will be dismissed and judged because the story is too sublime to accept.If we are to arrive at redemption, we must follow the lead of MLK and RFK and emulate their light instead of echoing the darkness of anger and vengeance that are the sources of human suffering. #ReflectingMLKRFK Click To Tweet
The officer advised me to write the story first, reflect and revisit it and then ultimately share it because there might be other people who need to hear that story. Serendipity! I found my answer from a random police officer. I asked him what his name was and told me his name is Matt. As in Matthew! When I was homeless, one of my favorite bible verses was Matthew 10:27 which reads, “what I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs”. My birthday is October 27th and Officer Matthew told me to tell my story. That story shall be told, but for now I will enjoy the beauty of this day and I ask you to do the same. Peace and God bless::
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” ~ 1 Peter 4:8
After yesterday’s encounter with so many homeless people, I can no longer ask people to contribute money to Ghion Journal when I’ve been blessed so abundantly. If you want to contribute to us, I just ask you to redirect that money and give to homeless shelters like the one I used to live at six years ago or give the money to homeless people directly. You don’t have to worry about what they will do with that money, your charity ends by giving it.
If you want to support me and the Ghion Journal beyond financial contributions, I just ask that you share this article widely and to do so not only on social media but on text, email and most importantly, voice conversations and in-person meetings. As evidenced by the Biden administration working directly with Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube to silence us, we must go low tech to overcome their high-tech censorship. Let us return to what allowed us to thrive instead of shriveling behind firewalls. Thank you.
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