On Monday, I was emailing with a client and friend, Craig, and we got into a discussion about luck and coincidence. I’m sure we have all had that feeling like we know someone but can’t figure out why. Sometimes, we just ignore the feeling and go on with our day. I try to not ignore those feelings as you never know what may result from one of those encounters. It was Monday morning pre-caffeine, so Craig and I didn’t delve into the topic too deeply.
On Tuesday, when I was clearing out my junk/spam folder, I came across an email from Azim Khamiza. Our paths crossed by happenstance about 15 years ago and my perspective on life changed. I was in Scottsdale at a conference and was playing golf with two friends I hadn’t seen in a year. We were getting ready to go to the first hole when Azim approached us and asked if he could join our group to fill out our foursome. My first inclination was that I really wanted to spend time with my two friends but I have been in Azim’s situation before, playing a round of golf by myself because no one would let me join their group. So, we invited Azim to join us and I ended up being the fortunate one who shared a cart with him.
As we played, we shared information about where we lived and worked in the normal way that new acquaintances begin conversations. Then Azim shared his tragic story with me. Azim lived in the Los Angeles area and his only son, Tariq, was an aspiring photographer with hopes of one day working for National Geographic. As he did his studies, he had a part-time job delivering pizzas. One day, he got assigned to a delivery which turned out to be a fake delivery call. It was a gang initiation and the initiation for the 14 year old, Tony, was to kill someone. Tariq was murdered that night and Azim told me about his grief and anger. Then he shared the most incredible part of the story which was his journey to forgive his son’s murderer and devote his life to save other young men and women from this cycle of violence. In his Ted Talk which I highlight below, Azim notes that there was more than one tragedy that night that Tariq was killed. Tony, too, lost his life as he has been in prison since the murder and both families felt the impact of the events that evening.
Azim has what he calls his peace formula. He says that sustained goodwill creates friendship, sustained friendship creates trust, sustained trust creates empathy, sustained empathy creates compassion and sustained compassion creates peace. He is often asked how he could extend goodwill to the person who murdered his child and his answer is that “you do it through forgiveness.”
Since Tariq’s death, Azim has been pushing his anti-violence message through the Tariq Khamisa Foundation. Azim is special person doing incredible work and I’m glad that I met him, by chance, on that golf course in Arizona.
This week’s selections are below:
What Comes After Tragedy? Forgiveness https://www.ted.com/talks/azim_khamisa_and_ples_felix_what_comes_after_tragedy_forgiveness?language=en
Independence Square by A.D. Miller
This novel is a story of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary times. It is a story about corruption and betrayals, and a story about where, in the twenty-first century, power really lies. In 2004, an idealistic British diplomat in Kiev is caught up in the pro-democracy protests, trying to head off disaster; 12 years later, he is back in London, a broken man. The two timelines intertwine for a savvy, soulful investigation into corruption, geopolitics and capital.