Saturday, April 13, 2024

Aaron Bushnell: The least he deserves is our conscience

The camera shows him walking intently on a pavement. He is heading towards the Israeli embassy in Washington, introducing himself as “Aaron Bushnell, an active-duty member of the United States Air Force, and I will no longer be complicit in genocide.” 

As he reaches the Israeli embassy, Bushnell states: “I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest. But compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonisers, it’s not extreme at all. This is what our ruling class decided will be normal.”

He then backs away from the camera, holds a thermos, opens it and pours gasoline over his head. The empty thermos is then thrown on the pavement, its metal clanging with an ominous sound, rolling on louder and louder. He then bends and lights himself in flames, shouting “Free Palestine.”

The fire soon engulfs him, yet he remains on his feet for a very, very long time. Slowly, his face turns into a charcoal,  flesh melting by the second, yet he is still on his feet, defiant, the very definition of courage, and ultimate sacrifice. His last words again are, “Free Palestine”, before he falls on the ground. 

(I have the link to the disturbing video but won’t forward it for the least any concerned human being could do is to look for it himself.)

Midway through this awe-inspiring act, a policeman and a paramedic are seen approaching him, the cop pointing his gun and yelling at the man-in-flames to get to the ground (sic). The paramedic sensibly screams: “we don’t need gun, we needs fire extinguishers.”

Before long, this incredibly morally, righteous man, stationed in San Antonio, was dead.  It was Sunday the 25th of February. A Facebook post attributed to him, reads: “Many of us like to ask ourselves: What would I do if I were alive during slavery? Or the time of Jim Crow in the South? Or apartheid? What would I do if my country committed genocide? The answer is that you are doing it. Right now!”

This was not suicide—as the corporate media tried to downplay it—but an act in the hope of moving the heart of the oppressors and igniting a movement from conscientious people which could stop the powers in Israel and the United States from the genocide of Palestinians underway for over four months now. 

This was Aaron’s way of pulling us out of our indifference to the Holocaust of Palestinians, who are being killed, maimed, buried under rubble, for months now. Two million Palestinians are being snuffed out right in front of our eyes. Still, it doesn’t shake our conscience, doesn’t lend our voice, not even a reflection on the murderous elites and its forward agent, media, which is dulling our aches. 

So this is how our corrupt and complicit media has taken note of Bushnell’s self-immolation, without dwelling on the reasons he made this ultimate sacrfice. Sample: 

The New York Times: Man dies after setting himself on fire outside Israeli embassy in Washington, police say

CNN: American airman dies after setting himself on fire outside Israeli embassy in Washington

BBC: Aaron Bushnell: US airmen dies after setting himself on fire outside Israeli embassy in Washington 

Washington Post: Airman dies after setting himself on fire outside Israeli embassy in Washington. 

Yet the real shame is reserved for the Time Magazine which admonishes Bushnell thus: 

“US Department of Defense policy states that active-duty military personnel should not engage in partisan political activities.” (And what is contributing to genocide if not “politically partisan”, if I make ask?)

Further: “US military regulation prohibit the wearing of uniforms during`unofficial public speeches, interviews” and other activities. (Pease go ahead and put Bushnell’s ashes for trial in a military tribunal.)

But the most despicable is yet to come from Time: At the bottom of the piece it instructs the readers: “If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis or considering suicide, call or text 988.”

Thus, the thrust is that Bushnell was suffering from a mental health crisis—and not those who are indifferent to extremely mentally disturbing political reality of Gaza. 

To quote Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk, from a letter he wrote to Rev. Martin Luther King: “To burn oneself by fire is to prove that what one is saying is of utmost importance. There is nothing more painful than burning oneself. To say something while experiencing this kind of pain is to say it with utmost courage, frankness, determination and sincerity.”

(Try lifting a tableware straight from the oven with your bare hands to appreciate what Bushnell did to himself.)

They are doing everything which they could to show Bushnell as a deranged person, as somebody who suffered from mental illness, an unstable person manipulated by pro-Palestinian activists. But self-immolation is an act of a principled man, one who could stay on his feet even when covered in fire, hoping that his sacrifice would jar humanity into action, break free our compassion, our solidarity, to do whatever we could. To devalue such an ultimate sacrifice is to deny his dying pledge.

Those who classify Aaron Bushnell as deranged are the very ones who don’t suffer from any pangs on Palestinian children being butchered in Gaza. They must reflect if it’s they who are in reality deranged and mentally unstable. 

Bushnell’s words that he doesn’t want to be complicit in this ongoing genocide of course is directed at the Biden Administration which is funding Israel and aborting any move which the world community is initiating in the United Nations. 

If Bushnell inspires awe, think of thousands of such Bushnells who are Palestinians and have sacrificed their lives for decades to free their homeland from the Zionists. These martyrs die unsung and unheard, committed to their own conscience, their own right to live freely, facing tanks, snipers and bullets, with no chance of survival. They too deserve a place in our heart. 

Meanwhile, a couple of events in the wake of Aaron Bushnell’s self-immolation deserve a mention: 

More than 100 people gathered outside the Israeli embassy in Washington next day to pay tribute to Bushnell. 

Mourners also gathered in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. 

Vigils were held in Chicago, Portland and New York City. 

The People’s Forum, which held vigil with the Palestinian Youth Movement in New York City, wrote on Instagram:

“Aaron Bushnell made the ultimate sacrifice to end a genocide perpetrated, supported and financed by the Biden administration. The system is guilty of crime against humanity in Gaza.”

Read More

Was Moscow attacked to rouse Russia to eliminate Zelensky?

A terrorist strike in a City Hall in Moscow kill 200 people.  The strike is claimed by ISIS - K (Khorasan).  Four perpetrators of this massive...
Support Us
Contribute to see NewsBred grow. And rejoice that your input has made it possible.