The sacrifice of Aaron Bushnell

By Bronx Anti-War Coalition

The International Action Center is in full solidarity with this statement.

Credit: @ms3_99

  1. “FREE PALESTINE!” were his last words and his motivation — this must always be centered.

Aaron Bushnell’s final words, “Free Palestine!” encapsulate both his last breath and his driving force. It is imperative that this message remains at the forefront. The fact that a U.S. soldier must resort to such extreme measures to shed light on U.S. imperialism’s crimes should not be normalized. Such an act can spark mass struggle with revolutionary goals.

We owe it to Aaron Bushnell to safeguard the integrity of his message by amplifying the voices of the Palestinian resistance, who have already recognized his contribution.

More and more people will be affected by this soldier’s act. The Palestinian resistance — in all its forms and from all nations — should also be openly and vocally supported and embraced in the same way and by the same people who are now — or who will be — in awe of Aaron Bushnell’s act of resistance.

  1. Give resistance fighters the same energy you’re giving Aaron Bushnell.

What Bushnell committed to — self-sacrifice for a greater cause — is what Palestinian, Arab and Islamic resistance fighters have done for decades to liberate Palestine and the world from Zionism. Palestinian resistance fighters deserve the same honor and acknowledgment as Aaron Bushnell.

Every day, resistance fighters risk their lives and die as martyrs fighting the Zionist occupation. Palestinians from the resistance selflessly confront Zionist tanks, snipers and battlefronts, facing a much better equipped army, expecting a slim chance of survival, yet doing so to defend their families, people and land.

Bushnell burned himself alive to call attention to the martyrdom and struggle of the Palestinian people. He is immortalized as a defender of humanitarian values and the plight of the oppressed Palestinian people, but let’s also recognize the martyrs who came before him. We now carry on the struggle and turn our eyes back to the resistance with renewed vigor and clarity of purpose.

  1. A U.S. soldier lighting himself on fire to protest a genocide the U.S. is perpetrating is a severe blow to imperialism. 

Aaron’s Bushnell’s declaration that he “will no longer be complicit in genocide” underscores a crucial point: He wasn’t protesting “some other country’s war,” but the U.S.’s direct role in not only funding the genocide but actively orchestrating it.

Last month, it was revealed that the Biden administration sent U.S. Air Force officers to assist the Israeli Occupation Force with targeting in Gaza, directly implicating the Pentagon in the IOF’s actions. Orders for Air Force members like Bushnell to deploy to occupied Palestine were labeled “mandatory.”

By forcing Bushnell and others to participate, the U.S. military effectively killed him, redirecting his oath to “defend” towards aiding genocide. Every active duty member in the U.S. military is being forced into complicity in genocide, like the soldiers in a Nazi military. They must learn that this crime serves only the billionaire imperialist class that the Pentagon serves. The movement must explain this.

Acts of self-sacrifice often ignite greater movements that involve mass action and can directly disrupt the military killing machine. May Bushnell’s sacrifice be a call to action for more U.S. active duty personnel to reject imperialism, and may his memory and U.S. crimes haunt all who remain silent or complicit in the genocide in Gaza.

  1. Aaron Bushnell made the ultimate sacrifice to combat the ultimate crime.

Self-immolation is not suicide or a manifestation of mental illness. Instead, it is a reflection of a deeply diseased society rooted in deeply flawed policies, not a reflection of an individual’s mental state. The same individuals who condone the starvation and bombing of children in Gaza seek to portray those who oppose such atrocities as mentally unstable.

Aaron Bushnell made the ultimate sacrifice to combat the ultimate crime. Contrary to the notion that mental illness implies a detachment from reality, Bushnell’s final Facebook post and its video introduction demonstrate a keen awareness of the grim realities often hidden by mainstream narratives. The weaponization of alleged mental illness is yet another deplorable tactic employed by Zionists and corporate media to perpetuate their own delusions.

We mourn the loss of Aaron Bushnell because the world cannot afford to lose such morally conscious individuals.

Aaron Bushnell, you are in the hearts of all the free people in the world.

This is a good time to remind everyone speaking on Aaron Bushnell and the ongoing genocide in Gaza that the best source for information is directly from the Palestinian resistance on the ground and from the wider camp of resistance.

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Long live resistance!. Long live Palestine!