Saturday, February 10, 2007


Temporary gazebo stalls setup to accommodate new year sales rush.

We live in a day of unrestrained violence. Children are snatched from homes or slain at school. Bombs and missiles are exploded in public places. There is war and there are rumors of war. No community, no race, no nation is immune to nor protected from a growing culture of violence. More than ever, we need to learn a different way, for the path we're following has led us into a dark and dangerous wilderness.

I like the way of Khamisa and Felix. One deadly evening in 1995, 14-year-old Tony Hicks shot and killed a 21-year-old college student and pizza deliveryman. Tony and several other gang members ordered pizza and, when it was delivered, Tony was told by his gang to shoot the young man who delivered the food, Tariq Khamisa.

Tariq's father Azim was enraged at the senseless killing. "There's something really wrong with a society where kids kill kids," he spat. He was angry at the kids, but he was even more upset with a culture that breeds so much violence.

Shortly after his son's death, Azim heard from a gentleman named Ples Felix. Ples was Tony Hick's grandfather. Azim invited Ples to his home and the two men shared their mutual grief and heartache. They also decided to do something. "I realized that change had to start with me," Azim reasoned. Therefore, though he may have wanted revenge, Azim Khamisa chose a different way to respond to his son's death.

What happened? Azim Khamisa toured the United States with Ples Felix, the grandfather of his son's killer. The two men visited schools with a message of nonviolence. They told the story of Tariq and Tony -- one child dead and the other in prison. And in a culture of violence, these two men of peace change lives -- by changing the attitudes of young people.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said that we do not start living until we can rise above the narrow confines of our individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. If that is true, then these two men are helping the rest of us to truly live. They're showing us a better
way. And if we listen and learn, I believe we'll all be saved.

From Lifesupport.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails