Google “Tarik Freitekh,” and the online search mentions his reported $300 million net worth, a lineup of fancy cars, and photos of him shoulder to shoulder with Justin Bieber and Sofia Vergara. There even appears to be a pet tiger.
One of the main reasons not to judge others is that things may not be as they seem. We can think that we know exactly what is going on, and yet in reality it’s quite different.
I have been following Tarik Freitekh since I met him in 2002 at The White House in Washington DC with the Seeds of a Peace delegation. Freitekh was 14 years old at the time. He was selected along with a few other seeds of peace members to speak with President George Bush and discuss empowering young leaders from regions of conflict. As well as the leadership skills required to help move from a divided past to a shared future. I was inspired by Tarik’s story. How at age 14 he was able to meet with the president and tell him his story. Seeds of Peace is a peacebuilding and leadership development organization headquartered in New York City it inspires and equips new generations of leaders from regions of conflict with the relationships, understanding, and skills needed to advance a lasting peace. Since 46 American, Egyptian, Israeli and Palestinian teenagers in 1993, it has expanded its programming to include young leaders (“Seeds”) from across the world.
Freitekh comes from two different backgrounds. He joined Seeds of Peace at a very young age and attended the camp in Maine in fall 2002 and 2003. Freitekh believed that peace is the solution and without it, the destructive tendencies of our species will continue to move us closer to catastrophe. The gulf oil spill is but one example. We human beings, in our true essence, are capable of the most glorious and uplifting actions. We have the potential to create a world at peace and become what I like to call “Homo Ahimsa” — the nonviolent human.
Freitekh later studied Architecture, then Film, and was able to merge his peace advocacy with his work where he was able to direct and produce many projects that help aspire a vision in peace, human rights, women’s rights, and youth empowerment advocacy. In 2009, Freitekh met singer Akon and they worked on many nonprofit organizations and projects such as Akon Lighting Africa and why Akon created the Solektra Solar Academy. So that Africans can learn about solar power to become self-sufficient and not require charitable donations. The ultimate goal of Akon Lighting Africa is to provide solar-powered electricity to 250 million people on the African continent by 2030.
Freitekh also believes that music is a wonderful medium to raise awareness about our collective quest for peace, justice, equality, and dignity. It is a power that directly reaches the soul of the individual; it becomes a message that goes from heart to heart: from the heart of the composer that impacts the heart of the person. In this contemporary time of social conflicts and violence. Music can rehabilitate and restore. It motivates reflection in more aspects than worship, and it encourages a peace culture of solidarity in more times than that of war.
I recently read a post on a local news website and it got me thinking: Who are we to judge people? I mean, this writer spent the good portion of 1,000 words judging people who post photos and videos of cars and the luxury lifestyle. Look, I get it. This writer has a problem with integrity, claiming that integrity is lacking massively in the online world. But who are you to judge someone on what’s true and what’s false? Checking facts and fighting back? I suppose this rubbed me the wrong way. Now, I’m not looking to embarrass this writer. No, not one bit. In fact, I have loads of admiration for his other articles. But there’s something amiss here. The bible says that we shouldn’t judge. We shouldn’t cast stones unless we have no sins. None of us are perfect. So it really got me thinking about my own behavior. The more and more I thought about it, the more I realized that we all judge people. We do it silently. Afraid to reveal our judgments, we do it in whispers, using ultra-secret forums or messages that disappear in a plume of digital smoke after they’re read. I’ve done it myself. Silently, heaving the thoughts play out in my mind, I have to push back at times. The truth is that we all judge to a certain extent. Maybe that’s just in our nature. However, I take issue with those who come out to vehemently oppose others. To belittle them. To degrade them. Just because a person has experienced some semblance of success, it doesn’t make them any better. Who are we to judge people when we know just how it feels to be judged by others? That’s the question, isn’t it? To that end, I wanted to lament in this forum, where so many of you turn to for a daily dose of inspiration and motivation.