Free Palestine!’ – Final Words of US Soldier before Self-Immolation in Protest of Gaza Genocide

Aaron Bushell
Aaron Bushell.

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

An active-duty member of the US Air Force set himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC on Sunday in protest against Israel’s genocidal war on the besieged Gaza Strip.  He later died of his injuries, according to reports.

“My name is Aaron Bushnell, I am an active-duty member of the United States Air Force and I will no longer be complicit in genocide,” the 25-year-old said before setting himself on fire.

“I’m about to engage in an extreme act of protest but, compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers, it’s not extreme at all. This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal,” he continued.

The video shows Bushnell, dressed in his uniform, walking up to the embassy building, setting his phone down on the ground, and pouring a liquid over himself before setting himself alight. As flames engulf him, he repeatedly yells: “Free Palestine!”

Law enforcement officers are heard screaming in the background for Bushnell to get on the ground. As one officer sprays Bushnell with a fire extinguisher, another is seen pointing a gun at him as he collapses on the ground.

“I don’t need guns, I need fire extinguishers!” an officer is heard yelling, as other policemen arrive.

Final Facebook Message

Bushnell posted a message on Facebook, earlier in the day, alongside a link to a Twitch stream that has since been taken down.

He wrote: “Many of us like to ask ourselves, ‘What would I do if I was alive during slavery? Or the Jim Crow South? Or apartheid? What would I do if my country was committing genocide?’ The answer is, you’re doing it. Right now.”

The video has drawn a widespread response on social media with one user, journalist Sana Saeed, saying: “Aaron Bushnell’s name will live on as an example of moral defiance & protest against a regime of genocide. He gave up his life for something bigger than himself, against his own uniform. The walls are rotting, people are suffocating & this govt & its institutions refuse to care.”

Another says the US serviceman “made the ultimate sacrifice for humankind. My heart goes out to his family.”

A spokesperson for the US Air Force reportedly confirmed to CNN that “an active duty Airman was involved in today’s incident.”

Close to 30,000 Killed 

Bushnell’s final act of protest comes as Israel’s genocidal war on the Gaza Strip kills close to 30,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. In addition, 70,043 have been wounded in the onslaught starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over Gaza, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel is currently on a trial before the International Court of Justice accused of contravening the Genocide Convention in its assault on the Palestinian enclave.

Reprinted from the Palestine Chronicle

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