A US Airman's Fiery Plea for Palestine: Will White House Wake Up?

11:07 - February 27, 2024
News ID: 3487353
IQNA – On Sunday, February 25, 2024, a shocking scene unfolded outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC.


A young man, dressed in a US Air Force uniform, set himself on fire in front of the embassy gate, shouting "Free Palestine" until he collapsed.

He was Aaron Bushnell, a 25-year-old active-duty airman and a software engineer. He died the next day from his severe burns.

Bushnell's self-immolation was not a random act of madness. It was a deliberate and desperate protest against the ongoing war in Gaza, where the Israeli regime has been bombing and killing civilians for months, with the tacit support of the US government.

Bushnell left behind a video message, in which he said he would “no longer be complicit in genocide.” He described his self-immolation as 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.”

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Bushnell's sacrifice has sparked a wave of sympathy and admiration among many people, especially those who support the Palestinian cause. They have hailed him as a hero, a martyr, and a voice of conscience. They have compared him to Thich Quang Duc, the Buddhist monk who burned himself to death in 1963 to protest the persecution of Buddhists in South Vietnam.

The act of self-immolation raises the question: What will it take for the US to change its policy and pressure Israel to stop its aggression and oppression of the Palestinians?

President Joe Biden has been largely silent and passive on the issue, despite the growing calls for a ceasefire. He has repeatedly affirmed his unwavering support for the occupiers' so-called "right" to defend itself while ignoring or downplaying the suffering and rights of the Palestinians.

His administration has also blocked several attempts by the UN Security Council to issue a statement calling for an end to the hostilities.

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Biden's stance has disappointed and angered many of his supporters, who expected him to be more progressive and compassionate than his predecessor, Donald Trump, who was widely condemned for his anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian stances. In one case, he moved the US embassy to the occupied East al-Quds in violation of international norms and laws. 

Biden's stance has also contradicted his rhetoric of promoting human rights, democracy, and multilateralism around the world.

The White House has a moral and political responsibility to listen to Bushnell's harrowing cry of "Free Palestine" and to act accordingly.