People In Taiwan Held A Protest For The American Soldier Who Set Himself On Fire To Protest Israel’s War On Gaza

Demonstrators in Taiwan braved the rain to stand outside the American Institute in Taiwan to protest against military transactions between the US, Taiwan and Israel, as well as to demand a ceasefire in Gaza.

On March 7, people in Taiwan held a protest in honor of American soldier Aaron Bushnell who died after setting himself on fire to protest the US government’s involvement in Israel’s war on Palestine.

Bushnell, a 25-year-old active serviceman in the United States Air Force, started a live stream on Feb. 25 outside the Israeli embassy in Washington DC and said he will “no longer be complicit in genocide” and set himself on fire.

He repeatedly shouted “Free Palestine” while he burned. He died from his burn injures eight hours later.

Demonstrators in Taiwan braved the rain to stand outside the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) to protest against military transactions between the US, Taiwan and Israel, as well as to demand a ceasefire in Gaza.

Organizers Taiwan Action Front for Palestine read out Bushnell’s last words to the crowd, before pr

Protesters wearing black chanted “AIT aids genocide” holding Aaron Bushnell’s photo and white flowers in their hands.

The crowd then bowed three times, a tradition of mourning the dead in Daoism.

“Since Oct. 7 last year, we have witnessed Israel’s violent actions against the people in Palestine and Gaza,” Huang Kai-chun, a 33-year-old healthcare worker from Taiwan, told Almost. “It made me very angry. I feel like in this day and age, this type of thing should not be permitted.”

“I know Taiwanese people’s stance towards this issue is a bit awkward due to China and the US. It makes it feel like we need to choose a side,” Huang said. “But I want to tell everyone that if we want to truly be ourselves, live in a free Taiwan, we should have our own opinions and not just follow China or the US.”

Luiz Shen, a 26-year-old Brazilian-Taiwanese restaurant worker, told Almost that he feels what is happening in Gaza is very relatable to every single person because children are being killed every day.

“I don’t think you have to be a certain religion or you can’t be a certain religion to support Palestine,” he said. “I believe that everybody can support Palestine, and everybody should.”

“We cannot just say, ‘Oh, this isn’t affect us,’ because it does,” Gabrielle Chungunco, a 26-year-old Filipino woman in Taiwan, told Almost, adding that Palestine was an example of how imperialism can destroy so many lives like it has in her own country.

Daniel, a 27-year-old Filipino American English teacher, echoed the sentiment, telling Almost that the war in Gaza is not only an issue of sovereignty for Indigenous Palestinians but also a climate issue, as well as a feminist issue.

He said that it was important to be able to draw connections and see how many of the issues happening worldwide are a result of US and Western imperialism, beyond just the war in Gaza but state terrorism in the Philippines and the mining of resources and modern day slavery in the Congo.

“We have to understand that that is not a system that you can fight as an isolated group of people. We all have to come together for this,” Chungunco said.

“The fact that we can stand on this land today and feel this current, temporary sense of safely and we can proudly say that we are a place with human rights, this is something that is hard to come by,” Lala Lau, one of the protest organizers told Almost. “We have to treasure it.”

Lau said that people don’t have to self-immolate like Bushnell but should take the opportunity to raise their voices while they still have the privilege to do so.

She said that the smallest thing people can do is share what’s going on in Gaza and Taiwan’s role in the military industrial complex with friends and family so as to hold the government and lawmakers accountable.

“Taiwan is obviously in the material position, like much safer than Palestine is right now,” Mo, a 25-year-old Taiwanese-American told Almost. “So instead of making those comparisons to say we should care about Palestine because we’re just like them, we should care about Palestine because they’re people.”

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