US soldier burns himself not to be part of Israel’s ‘genocide’ in Gaza anymore

Aaron Bushnell, who was an active-duty member of the US Air Force, set himself on fire Sunday outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C, to protest against the “genocide” in Gaza. He was known for “his kindness, gentleness, thoughtfulness,” according to reports.

“I will no longer be complicit in genocide. 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,” 25-year-old Aaron Bushnell said prior to setting himself on fire.

Footage showing the protest and the moment when Bushnell set himself on fire went viral on social media.

The fire was extinguished by Secret Service personnel and Bushnell was subsequently dispatched to an area hospital due to “critical life-threatening injuries,” said the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.

Bushnell passed away after succumbing to his injuries.

Multiple reports citing the live streaming of the incident said the man shouted “Free Palestine” as he was burning.

Having served in the US Air Force since 2020 and held a position as a DevOps engineer, Bushnell broadcast his protest live before setting himself on fire.

“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,” Bushnell wrote on his Facebook page while sharing the livestream’s link.

Bushnell is “the kindest, gentlest, silliest little kid in the Air Force” and “one of the most principled comrades” his friends have ever known, US-based reporter Talia Jane shared on X after interviewing Bushnell’s friends.

“Aaron is the kindest, gentlest, silliest little kid in the Air Force. He’s always trying to think about how we can actually achieve liberation for all with a smile on his face,” one of the Bushnell’s friends said a reporter based in the US.

“He is one of the most principled comrades I’ve ever known,” another friend of his who collaborated with Bushnell to assist the homeless population in San Antonio.

The LinkedIn profile associated with Bushnell indicated concurrent enrollment in an undergraduate program for software engineering at a university.

Bushnell was actively pursuing a bachelor’s degree in software engineering from Western Governor’s University. Also, he had earlier engaged in coursework related to software development at Southern New Hampshire University and computer science at the University of Maryland Global Campus, according to the information on his LinkedIn profile that is said to belong to him.

He was also a software engineer with expertise in Python, Perl programming languages, the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system, and the Ansible software platform.

He completed his training as the top graduate in the US Air Force and served in the Information Technology Infrastructure Monitoring and Surveillance role.

In September 2020, Bushnell obtained the CompTIA Security+ cybersecurity certification.

His skills include web development, network management, information management, Windows system administration, network security, cybersecurity, and information processing.

“Aspiring software engineer with a wide breadth of experience in web development, software engineering, Linux system administration, IT administration, and more. I have a talent and a passion for solving complex problems with code. I am looking for SkillBridge programs to transfer my skills into the software engineering career field.

“I am currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering from Western Governor’s University and have taken several supplementary classes in software development outside of college.”

“I have prior experience in web development in the civilian world and have exercised my knowledge of scripting languages in every IT-related role I have held. I am truly passionate about writing software and can’t wait to help drive innovation in the civilian world,” the profile said.

The profile added that he excelled in team environments and gained “very good communication skills” during his time in military service “in both leadership and followership roles, as well as prior work experience in a variety of civilian roles.”

“I have been commended by senior leaders for my ability to explain complex technical matters to them. I can bring many such soft skills to the table in any role,” the profile said.

He completed his training as the top graduate in the US Air Force and served in the Information Technology Infrastructure Monitoring and Surveillance role.

The Washington Post cited a spokeswoman for the Air Force, Rose M. Riley, as confirming that “an active duty airman was involved in today’s incident.”

In the video, aired on the live-streaming platform Twitch and later removed, Bushnell reportedly said he would “no longer be complicit in genocide” about the Israeli killings in Gaza since October 2023. He also reportedly said, “I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest.”

An investigation is underway, according to authorities.

(Source: Anadolu Agansi)