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Suicide for Genocide: Protest to Free Palestine

Aaron Bushnell Self-Immolates to Protest the Israeli War on Gaza
Ally Knight
Aaron Bushnell lights himself on fire to demonstrate what is happening to the people in Gaza.

On Sunday, Feb. 25th, right outside of the Israeli embassy in Washington D.C. Aaron Bushnell, an Air Force member who worked in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance lit himself on fire to protest the Israeli war on Gaza. He live-streamed his self-immolation on Twitch which has been going around the media.

Aaron Bushnell’s last words were “I will no longer be complicit in genocide. 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 colonizers, it’s not extreme at all. This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal. Free Palestine.”

Bushnell had planned this out for a while before his self-immolation. He wrote his will before his protest saying he wanted all of his savings to go to a fund that helps Palestinian children.

As Bushnell was screaming “free Palestine” and burning to death, an Israeli police officer pointed a gun at him demanding him to “get off the ground” while another officer yelled, “I don’t need guns, I need a fire extinguisher.” Before the firefighters were able to get to the scene, other Secret Service officers were able to put the fire out but were unable to save him. He died later from the burn wounds in a local hospital. This act shows the situation perfectly that Israelites do not see Palestinians or anyone who supports them as people. They only see them as an opposition to their cause.

As this goes around the news and media, people have come to the conclusion that he committed self-immolation because he was in a mental health crisis. Bushnell did not take his life because he was mentally ill, he did it because he was morally outraged, as we all should be. He had more courage in one hand than most people have in their whole body, so claiming him as mentally ill is inadequate. He clearly stated what the painful reasoning for his protest was. His sanity was perceptive and he paid his life for it.

Bushnell was not the first to commit self-immolation in protest for the freedom of Palestine. In December, an unidentified person set themself on fire outside of the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia. The police then discovered a Palestine flag at the scene and said it was “likely an extreme act of political protest.” Self-immolation is the most distressed form of protest. We can not have people doing this in vain and without not seeing results.

America and Israel are allies. Whether you support Gaza or not, every purchase and tax dollar is going to Israel because of their partnership and there’s nothing we as citizens can do to stop this. However, some places support Israel that you can be boycotting to help support Gaza. These include Starbucks, McDonald’s, Nestle, Burger King, Coca-Cola, Fox, Disney, Lays, Doritos, channel, and more. By supporting these companies and food you are actively helping Israel commit genocide.

Since Oct. 7th, 29,878 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza with an additional 70,215 others injured. 1.7 million Gazans (75% of the population) have been internally displaced. We need to end this genocide. Click here to donate or click here to see the simple actions you can take to help Palestine be free.

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About the Contributor
Ally Knight, Feature and Multimedia Editor
(She/her) Ally Knight is a Senior at West High and this is her second year on the Wahawk Insider staff. Outside of Wahawk Insider, she is on the varsity cheer squad for football and wrestling. You can often see her going on runs with her dog, shopping with friends, or taking a nap!
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  • K

    KyleMar 1, 2024 at 8:37 am

    Aaron Bushnell was a hero for his actions in support of Palestine. While I and most others appreciate his sacrifice fully, it is equally important and equally difficult to live and to continue to fight for the freedom of Palestinians. Americans need to wake up and realize that our government’s support of Israel is the primary reason they are able to commit this genocide. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.