In Gaza, Genocide in Palestine, Israel, Palestine, Self immolation as a form of anti-war protest, USA

Aaron Bushnell

By ShenPeng, 28 Feb 2024. Opinion, The China Academy.

The following article was originally written in Chinese by ShenPeng, a renowned Chinese political commentator who is trusted and followed by millions of people on the internet.

On February 25th, Aaron Bushnell, a 25-year-old member of the U.S. Air Force, burned himself to death in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C.

February 25, 2024 – Scene from uncensored video by active-duty U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Aaron Bushnell setting himself on fire shouting “Free Palestine” in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington DC to protest the ongoing genocide in Gaza. He later died at the hospital. [Source:]

He walked alone to the embassy gates, donned his military cap, and lit himself on fire.

“I am an active-duty member of the United States Air Force, and 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!”

Aaron Bushnell’s name has now risen to the top search trend in the U.S. Many Americans are spontaneously mourning him in front of the Israeli Embassy.

Born in 1999, Aaron Bushnell was a cyber-defense operations specialist in the Air Force with access to various military intelligence – a position that usually requires strict political screening, including a patriotic family background. Considering his Massachusetts upbringing and Texas workplace, coupled with his typical wholesome white farm boy look…he was the archetypal “good boy” from Middle America.

A frequent attendee of socialist organizations and volunteer work, Bushnell enjoyed helping people.

“Aaron is the kindest, gentlest, silliest kid in the Air Force.” said Errico, who has known Bushnell since 2022, “He’s always trying to think about how we can actually achieve liberation for all with a smile on his face.” Xylem, who had worked with Bushnell to support San Antonio’s unhoused residents, said: “He is one of the most principled comrades I ever known.”

Note the word “comrade”. You read that right – Aaron Bushnell was a leftist comrade. Marxism-Leninism has spread quite extensively among American youth and the military in recent years, with news last year of young leftist American soldiers fighting Nazism in Ukraine.

On February 26th, the day after Aaron’s death, the Revolutionary Communists of America (RCA) announced its formation in New York, shouting slogans like “Communists are revolutionaries!” and “The only solution is Communist revolution” on the streets – and these are young people, not the old CPUSA folks.

Before his self-immolation, Aaron Bushnell had already given away his cat and personal belongings, sending his last words to friends.

His final X read:

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.

Friends revealed that Aaron had contemplated other approaches, but as a U.S. airman and unwavering patriot, he was thrust into deep anguish upon witnessing the brutal genocide of Palestinians committed by America and Israel. Like so many young awakened U.S. soldiers who initially thought they were defending peace and serving their homeland, he faced the harsh reality that he was only complicit in tyranny and imperialism’s executioner.

But he was left with no choice. Who wouldn’t feel utter despair in the face of the “international community” and “mainstream media”? If he had exposed the truth through writing, he would risk being arrested and silenced. If he had taken up arms in rebellion, he would have been branded a traitor and a lunatic. Thus, there he stood in front of the Israeli Embassy, letting blazing fire, and his final words stand as a testament to his resolution.

This is a kind, upright, gentle young man. He was a socialist but also a true patriot. But regrettably, America and Jewish media are busily smearing and vilifying him as “mentally ill,” “far-left,” and a “terrorist.”

Israel and Jewish Zionists even call Aaron an “enemy” despite Aaron being a Hebrew name – the name of a Jewish prophet in the Old Testament. In truth, America’s founding myth is similar to Israel’s, both seeking their “Promised Land” and manufacturing legitimacy for it. Now their “Aaron” is dead, and they hardly cherish him.

In contrast, Middle Eastern groups resisting U.S. and Israeli oppression have expressed mourning and respect for Aaron. The empire’s outstanding soldier died, yet the greatest honor and goodwill came from the empire’s enemies.

America is simply unworthy of such young people. As these “good kids” and “patriots” die in despair, what is left of America?

Is self-immolation outside the Israeli Embassy in the United States extreme? Yes, it is. But is it more extreme than the indiscriminate massacre of Palestinian women and children by Israel, or the iron fist of the ruling class in the United States, who sends arms and ammunition to the executioners?

A young American airman who had seen the filth, darkness, and bloodshed within the United States and the plundering and killing of the whole world by the collusion of the United States and Israel lost hope of his own motherland and was even more furious with Israel. He had no other choice but to set himself on fire.

While Bushnell was engulfed in flames in front of the Israeli Embassy, his last words, “Free Palestine,” could still be heard. And it was a black man who came to his rescue, anxiously shouting, “Where’s the first aid kit?” while a white man pointed a gun at Bushnell. If this dystopian scene had occurred in any other country, say Russia, Iran, Serbia, or North Korea, can you imagine the uproar it would have provoked?

But in America, he died a silent, cold death.

Bushnell is only one of the many American youth who have “awakened” in recent years. Starting from Snowden, generations and generations of “patriots” started to resist the sinister “deep state.” Some are arrested as “traitors,” some flee abroad, some are killed amidst the chaos at Fort Detrick’s gates, and some burn to ashes before the Israeli Embassy.

In 2021, active-duty U.S. Navy officer Woldesenbet was shot dead at Fort Detrick’s entrance. He had served at multiple military bases before entering the Navy Medical Research Center in Fort Detrick in August 2019. Warda’s honors included the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

An exemplary U.S. soldier and qualified Navy medic was gunned down at the gates of his long-time base, barely making a ripple.

In 2023, active soldier Jack Teixeira leaked over 300 classified intelligence photos on Discord. The leaks included U.S. internal casualty statistics for Russia and Ukraine, a British recon plane nearly downed by Russia, U.S. wiretapping of South Korea, Egypt supplying ammunition to Russia, U.S. bribing Mossad to interfere in Israel’s domestic turmoil…He was promptly arrested.

Teixeira was a National Guard cyber engineer and top aviator who had won the Air Force Achievement Medal. He loved America but felt the government had a dark side, describing U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies as sinister organizations shrouding citizens in darkness.

He said: “I love America dearly; I just have no faith in its future now…Kids should know more about real-world problems.”

I was also introduced to a famous 98-born American internet celebrity with 3 million X followers who holds an anti-U.S., anti-Israel, anti-Zionism, anti-imperialism, and anti-capitalism stance. Yet he is a MAGA supporter and took photos in the East with a hammer and sickles. He said he knows Trump and MAGA are not progressive, but he was also aware that Marxism asks for being with the masses, and currently, the most mass-based force in America is Trump and MAGA, so he must support Trump for now based on practical reasons – this is “the Americanization of Marxism.”

And that is the right approach- build upon existing soils, never prematurely pull seedlings or overstep bounds; civilization will find its own way.

Do not underestimate the heroes of the world and people of this world, including the American people. As we “open our eyes to the world,” they too are “opening their eyes to the world.” We are all living humans with eyes, ears, and minds. They are closer to the darkness yet are determined to break away from it. That makes them incredible heroes.

Such people are precious to America, for they are true patriots, the awakened pillars among American youth. Their anger and despair stem from loving America deeply.

America’s “conscience” loses another piece.

The light for America’s future dims yet another bit.


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