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“Extreme Act of Protest”

A U.S. Air Force service member named Aaron Bushnell set himself on fire outside the Israel Embassy in Washington DC in what he called an “extreme act of protest” against what he called the genocide in Gaza. As his body burned, he yelled “Free Palestine!”

Let’s set aside the horrific event for a second and consider how this will and will not affect American consciousness.

Independent journalist Sam Husseini said this about it: “In a minimally normal society, Aaron’s words and video of his immolation would be on every major media outlet and there would be thousands outside the genocidal Israeli embassy, shutting it down.”

That is not what happened.

The media gave this story very limited coverage. CNN spoke to the Israeli embassy to assure us that everyone in the embassy was safe. The New York Times reported this as a bomb threat to the area. And the first police officer on the scene drew his gun and pointed it at the man on fire.

Last December, a woman set herself on fire in front of the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta for the same reasons and ABC News did not so much as identify her gender. “Protestor sets self on fire” the headline reads. They, too, quoted an embassy official calling it “hate and incitement toward Israel.”

We’re missing the mark here, don’t you think?

Consider how the monks who burned themselves to draw attention to the war in Vietnam actually aroused consciousness. According to Husseini, “While the photo of the Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc immolating himself helped wake people up about the Vietnam War, the blurred-out image of Aaron’s self-immolation will clearly help lull people to sleep about Israel’s genocide.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released plans for Gaza and it says that Israel will “maintain its operational freedom of action in the entire Gaza Strip, without a time limit” and that “the security perimeter being created in the Gaza Strip on the border with Israel will remain as long as there is a security need for it.”

Bushnell was rushed to the hospital where he remains in critical condition this morning.

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Redacted is an independent platform, unencumbered by external factors or restrictive policies, on which Clayton and Natali Morris bring you quality information, balanced reporting, constructive debate, and thoughtful narratives.