Avonte Oquendo: We must find him!!!



If you’ve been paying any attention to the news, in New York City, one headline-story keeps popping-up, and for good-reason: the story of Avonte Oquendo, a 14 year-old Special-Needs child, who went missing, and has still remained missing, since October 4th, 2013. There have been several news-circuits covering this story, and his picture is posted, at basically every New York City Transit Subway/Bus stop. But, this in not why I’m writing this article, I’ve written this article, because he hasn’t been found yet, and to be very honest this scares me a great deal.

It truly has me at a severe sense of unease, to know that this young boy, whom is challenged, is somewhere, on his own, unsupervised, and most of all, unprotected. Literally, anything could’ve/could happen to him, on the streets of New York: finding him is not an option. This must/should be top-priority of every New Yorker, and of any/every concerned Citizen of the World, to know the whereabouts of this young-person.

I remember, riding the train, and there was, yet another of the very often announcements, encouraging people to be on the look-out for Avonte Oquendo. And, some random Man, about a 50 year-old something kind of guy, mumbled under his breath, “Who cares?!!!” And, of course, me being me, gave him the dirtiest-look my facial-muscles would Humanly allow, upon what I heard him say. Fortunately, that was enough for him to remain quiet, and go on about his business.

It’s episodes like that, just as I’ve described, which really pain me: this arrogant, indifferent, lackadaisical, posture/attitude which, sadly, so many/too many fellow ew Yorkers have, in reference to this boy being missing, for so long. And, I’m often wondering to myself, why this is the case: is it because of his skin-color, is it because of his mental/psychological condition, is it because he’s not related to any of us, or is it that we, as New Yorkers, as Americans, as Humans, so self-absorbed, that a person, another Human being, as ourselves, is lost, within our very own midst, is really something that we don’t even take seriously any longer.

I mean, seriously: this is a Human’s life at stake, in the balance that we’re talking about: there are those within this World, whom suffer, because & while people like you and I do nothing about it. We, as a society, both within New York, the U.S., and even worldwide, must never let our jovial-festivities, jobs, parties, weddings, birthdays, etc., remove us from the reality that there are those from among our Human-Family, whom have nothing, while we are able to enjoy, reminisce about, celebrate with persons, possessions, that we hold dear & give our lives meaning.

Just because this person is not a Muslim, or not our “Child”, or not our “Sibling”, or not of our socio-ethnic/socio-cultural background, etc., doesn’t at all make him any less of a Human being…We are all the Creation of Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe, the Children of Adam & Eve (Peace be upon them both), which, by definition, makes us all brothers & sisters of one another.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.4, V.1)

So, when one Human is afflicted with pain or hardship we are all to bleed…While we’re celebrating the blessings & festivities which are `Id/Eid, let’s not also forget those from among our greater Human relatives, whom don’t have anything to celebrate, as a result of some sort of tragedy that has befallen either themselves or their respective loved-ones, communities, nations, etc.

So, at the risk of just rambling, I’ll simply end with a powerful saying, from Muhammad (Peace be upon him), “None of you (truly) believes (in Islam), unless he loves for his brother (Muslim/Fellow-Human) what he loves for himself.”.(an-Nawawi)

Just think about this: based upon that simple-statement, would any of us love for ourselves to be a young-person, away from home, mentally (intellectually) challenged, lost in a huge city, like New York City, without anyone to help us guide our steps, to help us, to secure us from danger?

I’ll let you answer this question for yourself, on your own.

Gareth Bryant/2013

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