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June 26, 2017

The Love that Healed Me


Not too long ago, I found myself in the midst of hopelessness. What I took for granted for years all the sudden yanked away, I went from upper middle-class privilege to a life of hard knocks and indigence. It was an existential dilemma I was facing, what to do going forward and how to make sense of the seemingly senseless. After much prayer and reflection, I decided to pick up my pen again and start writing. It was that decision that led to me finding a purpose. Hardship is a blessing I realize; when we go through the fire, we emerge on the other side stronger for it. It was also hardship that bled out of my system the banality of labelism.

When I saw a sea of humanity everywhere I went struggling through poverty and despair, I realized I could not longer in good conscience advocate for justice for just my own. It was hardship that transformed my outlook on the system of inequality and iniquity that robs too many of hope and opportunities. Poverty comes for all and the only way to overcome injustice is for all to come together. Unity is the only way forward. It was hardship—pain—that became my serendipity for my spiritual awakening. Below I’m going to share a couple of poems I wrote during my “walk to Damascus” of sorts. These poems, and the book Serendipity’s Trace, would serve as the foundation on which Ghion Journal was built on top of. I’m going to share the four poems I love the best because there truly was a spiritual connection I felt as I was writing these poems.

Thank you for being a part of my journey, beside my writing and my faith in an awesome God, what rescued me from the pits of despondence was the kindness of strangers who refused to let me give up on love. My love (poetic isn’t it, my last name means “my love”) was salvaged by the love of countless strangers who became friends. It was hardship and pain that gave me purpose, it was kindness and love that saved me. On to the poems from Serendipity’s Trace.

History’s Malevolence

The middle ground is treacherous

Preaching unity to all sides dangerous

I mean trying to find a universal language

Creating consensus out of chaos

Is often laden with insults—profoundly onerous

It’s easier rebuilding the tower of Babel

But lend me an ear brethren and sisters

What if I told you history was malevolent

Facts rewritten by victors and conquerors

In order to split the masses into opponents

Propagating propaganda to prolong injustice

What if I told you that the Civil War

For example to pick one of many instances

Was not truly about slavery

It was about the economy

Forcing one ideology over another

The powerful versus the feeble

A clash of aristocrats and the prosperous

Who duped the powerless to fight each other

Most “white folk” in the south

Were struggling as indentured servants

Deteriorating in barrenness

Now the powerful spread lies

Fracturing society into encampments

Pains of the subjugated

Being used to hide intentions of a system

In the process pitting one against the other

Racism is about power

But they deceive you into thinking

That fellow victims are racists

To obfuscate the true malevolence of bigotry

Hiding the hands of those who bleed society

What if I told you

That poor “white” folk in Antebellum

Had more in common with “slaves”

Than they did with nefarious “slave” owners

And only a fraction of society, the wealthy aristocracy

On both sides of the war irrespective of location

Thrived in the midst of hardship

The multitudes on both sides

Living in destitution and squalor

As they teach that Lincoln was the “Great Emancipator”

Educating us to elevate a president

To the status of God for “black people”

Maybe you should read Lincoln’s speech

“A House Divided”

And you would realize that history

Is full of utter bullshit

Injustice only prospers

When the people are splintered

And feed into the propaganda of the system

Did you get mad, think of me as a sellout

As if I was dismissing the horrors of slavery

Or diminishing the pains of its legacy

Do you think I am trying to erase Jim Crow

Will you accuse me of negating

The terrors of Reconstruction

Or do you understand

That the ancestors of “black” and “white”

The children of the masses

Irrespective of color

Are besieged in poverty and squalor

At this precise exact moment

For the Civil War is still raging

As they pit races against each other

Trying to instigate strife and friction

As they manipulate society

To rupture into racial warfare and hostility

Think about this for a moment

Who shares the burdens of the broken

Of “black folk” who shiver in Chicago?

Is it the bourgeoisie Congressional Black Caucus in D.C.

Is it the “first black president”

And the jive talkers like Sharpton

And his ilk who live in Manhattan partying in the Hamptons

Attending soirées in Martha’s Vineyard chalets

Or do poor “black” folk in the cities

Have more in common with their brethren

The impoverished “white people” in the Appalachians?

It’s always easier to speak to individual grievances

To impassion flames instead of spreading light

Insults follow the ones who preach universal justice

Applause given to those who demagogue incessantly

See history is meant to cleave people

To teach that others are dissimilar

But in truth the lives of most are unbearable

Slavery has taken on a new concept

Where debt has become the new bondage

And poverty is the new shackle

Most of us are ensnared in irrespective of identity

More and more falling into this depraved captivity

When it comes to historical injustices

The sins of a diabolic few

Cannot be blamed on the masses

I mean Mussolini’s army not too long ago

Terrorized my native land Ethiopia

As mothers and children

Innocent civilians

Perished by the hundreds of thousands

Charred up by chemical weapons

A holocaust visited upon my ancestors

But I can’t blame Italians

For the horror of a murderous cabal

For there are masses in Italy

Suffering just like the masses in my country

This same message I preach to my fellow Ethiopians

Those who are blinded by tribalism

As they insult their countrymen

Letting animosity overcome their emotions

This is the reason Ethiopia is shattering

And why tyrants rule with iron fists

Injustice making us forget our common heritage

Making us disregard that we are one people

United by one common struggle

It’s always easier for the powerful

To pilfer the citizenry and fleece us blindly

As long as we are distracted by differences

To “white people”

This message I reiterate

So called “minorities” have identical struggles

The same burdens that you go through

So why get mad at the meager means

Of those who are broken by poverty

The pittance given to those caught in bleakness

Instead of being outraged

By the thievery being undertaken by the few

The billionaire class who we worship

As they swindle our life savings

History is mendacious

Truth subverted into propaganda

Instead of dwelling on past pains

And residing in separable grievances

Why don’t we unite as one people

If you want to end injustice

Stop monopolizing pain

And understand one thing

We are all in this together

Or we will suffer forever fractured

This is why I keep using quote marks

Around the words “white” and “black”

Because these labels are pernicious

They prevent us from realizing our cohesion

For we are more than labels

We are humans united by the same purpose

History is full of lies and divisiveness

It’s in our hearts we find humanity’s oneness

Silent Salute

To the soldiers who sacrificed

Did their duty without asking

I express outrage against injustice

Over immoral wars and endless carnage

I am speaking out for you in the process

Veterans in the end understand one thing

Their fellow men were never their enemy

To this day fierce rivals from past conflicts

Embrace after the last bullets have been fired

Soldiers salute and do their duty that is best

The sorrows they go through alone

Trauma induced by bodies and reduced humanity

Only to come back home and encounter Satan’s embrace

Flash backs prompting cold sweats

Bullets and blood droplets

Too much for the mind to process

Those who die in wars are fortunate

It’s the veterans, the survivors

Who carry the burdens of these remembrances

Fallen comrades and innocent children

Indiscriminately swallowed whole by turbulence

Tears mixing with blood stains
Cries drowned out by battle drums

War is humanity’s utmost blemish

Concealed by propaganda and theatrics

Patriotism birthing negligence

Our conscience is subverted into ignorance

As we enjoy disengagement’s bliss

Veterans suffer depression’s kiss

Politicians, profiteers and Hollywood

Glorifying war horrors by bending reality

Obfuscating suffering with special effects and rhetoric

But to the soldier their truth is the opposite

Rat-tat-tat-tat bullets shattering God’s presence

Untold masses disappearing into graves and silence

We wave flags thanking them for service

They shiver alone bearing the cost of compliance

Final judgments by way of triggers and buttons

Only to come back home

Shock and awe replaced by shock trauma

Nightmares that never end

Being continually transported back to mayhem

The battle field redrawn into the mind’s synapses

Piercing quietness with shrieks and terrors

Spouses who grow estranged

Children unable to comprehend

Concern pixelating into absence

Loneliness the only friend that remains

The proud and few become islands

Invisible wounds breaking cognizance

This is why so many end up homeless

Many more embracing suicide’s cuddle

Despair muffles life and blends into darkness

To be met by society’s mind numbing indifference

We step over them daily

Once warriors turned into the indigent

Salutes being returned with diffidence

Yet in this silence I stand for you

May God forever bless you

Where you are broken

May you mend into fullness

Sergeant Black in DC

Vietnam War survivor

Gunny Stevens in Greenville

Korean War survivor

Derrick in Colorado

Iraq War survivor

Frank in Ankeny Iowa

World War II survivor

Countless others who I have met

Had the honor of sharing meals with

May your struggles be fleeting

But your blessings be eternal

In silence I salute you

Breathless to Sublime

I’ll be damned

You are turning back the tides

It’s like you are reversing the ride

Is it possible you are inverting the chains

Refusing to let me revert to pain

Turning weeping willows into daisies

Morphed endless cracks in pavements

Into Picasso’s pain strokes

Transforming tears and heartburn

Into chuckles and hopefulness

Once scorned and torn

You are restoring optimism

From bitter taste

You feed me gursha of bliss

Renewing innocence

Like a doctor you heal me

Like a teacher you lead me

From gutter to gains

Shifting all my misfortunes

Into abundance and blessings

I mean is this just perspective

or is it your essence and presence

I feel like analyzing it all

Life taught me to be tentative

Fearful of hurt and torment

But your tigist is slowly

Restoring tesfa in my wounded heart

Romance once buried

You are resurrecting my love

It took a perfect stranger

To make me believe in my last name again

Magical how life works

When you expect the worse

Unexpected joys visit without warning

From alone to your company

I was getting used to embi

Silently you whisper eshi

Lost as to what was mine

You became my yene

Keep changing my circumstance

Cocooned in solitude

You are the butterfly

Who is leading me to love

Dubbing over tizita

And recording desta

Rebirthed through your eyes

Sanctified by your lips

Your sway and your smile

Is converting a hard heart

Into a believer again

Imagine that

Where life dips

It’s a pause a blip

Before life takes off

Chance meetings

Got me listening to music

Without floating in regret

Leading to new directions

Sublime is her name

I am breathless

To Sam

To the child in the mission

This poem is addressed to your innocence

It breaks my heart seeing you in distress

Your home found in a dilapidated shelter

Each time I see you

Eating dinner with your parents

Sorrow envelops my soul

I lament your plight

Your youth dashed with distress

But you are an angel

Giving hugs to strangers

Spreading joy to the broken

Your resilience is breathtaking

You do not let your environment

Overtake and destroy your blessing

You greet mornings with laughter

In the midst of sadness

You found God’s promise

Nine years old

Your wisdom is mind-bending

When it says to be like children

To enter the kingdom of heaven

We can take lessons from Sam

And the rest of God’s children

It was hardship and pain that gave me purpose, it was kindness and love that saved me

All of our stories are interconnected this way. If we just pause, we would realize that our lives are made the better when we connect Soul to Soil with both neighbors and strangers. To those who struggle, in time may your suffering give way to your own blessings. I pray for peace, happiness and, above all, for love towards all of humanity. We are all the children of God. None is more or less chosen than the other. #Soul2Soil

To find out about both “Serendipity’s Trace” and “Soul to Soil”, click on the picture below or click on this LINK HERE. 

A video homage to LOVE (fiker), “and now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

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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