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The Wingspan

U.S. Airman Dies After Setting Himself On Fire In Protest to Israel-Hamas war

Ian Hutchinson
Photo by Ian Hutchinson on Unsplash https://unsplash.com/photos/a-crowd-of-people-holding-signs-and-flags-FJ-nblBS8Q0

An active duty U.S. airman stationed at Joint Base San Antonio set himself on fire to protest Israel’s war in Gaza. Sunday, Feb. 25, at approximately 1 p.m., Aaron Bushnell streamed the event on Twitch in front of the Israeli Embassy in D.C. and was pronounced dead later that night, according to NPR. 

In the video, Bushnell wore his military uniform and carried a stainless steel water bottle filled with gasoline on his way to the front gates. 

“I will no longer be complicit in genocide,” Bushnell said. 

He explained that he would be participating in “an extreme act of protest.” 

“But compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers, it is not extreme at all,” Bushnell said. “This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal.” 

While he burned, Bushnell was heard screaming “Free Palestine!” until he could no longer speak. 

The Israel-Hamas war began Oct. 7, 2023 with an attack that killed 1,200 people in Israel and has now resulted in the death of over 29,000 in Gaza. According to the Associated Press, all of Gaza is in need of food and at least a quarter of the population is close to famine. The U.S. recently voted against the U.N. Security Council proposal for an immediate ceasefire and has not yet come to a resolution.

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About the Contributor
Abbey Shultz, Section Editor
Abbey Shultz is currently a junior at HCCPHS and is the section editor for opinion pieces and feature stories. She spends most of her free time listening to music, reading, and writing. She is an advocate for Oxford commas and wants to eventually go into a writing career. Her goal for her time with The Wingspan is to improve with every article.
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