Bouazizi in Washington: What is the difference?

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

When the young Tunisian, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself on fire in protest against the humiliation and poverty he endured, Western media – print, audio, and visual – rallied to defend human rights in Tunisia and the Arab world and to highlight the extent of injustice faced by Arab citizens, who struggle under systems and values not aligned with Western liberal ideologies. Systematic and calculated campaigns of incitement began to ignite what they termed an “Arab Spring”, which proved to be a genuine catastrophe for the people of the affected countries, unleashing turmoil and chaos in the name of this raging spring.

All other topics came to a halt, fading from the products of media outlets across Western countries. The plea for the liberation of this suppressed nation and its integration into the “Western civilization” became the central theme that fueled discord, terrorism, bombardment, and threats to the security and safety of these countries. It unleashed a volcano that continues to consume the foundations, structures, components, and continuity of these societies. This has unfolded through various scenarios and executive tools in Arab countries but with one objective in all countries.

The comparison between the repercussions of the fate of Bouazizi and the fate of the American soldier, Aaron Bushnell (25 years), who set himself on fire wearing his military uniform in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, cannot be more peculiar and disturbing. Both of these strikingly similar incidents were profound expressions of unbearable individual protest. Yet, Aron Bushnell’s protest was against the atrocities committed by the Zionists in Palestine, where he spent his final moments calling for freedom for Palestine. Despite the fire engulfing his fragile body, the American police officer grew uneasy with his chants for Palestine, defying the creeping death on his body, and ultimately shot him. The glaring irony is that the Western predominantly biased media has ignored this incident, even though the American soldier was wearing his full military uniform as if nothing happened. Not only that, but social media algorithms have deliberately suppressed any content discussing this event, preventing it from reaching the intended audience. With the burial of Aron Bushnell, Western media, following the usual system of tyrants in oppressive regimes subservient to Zionist money with a mere gesture, buried his case nullifying, with severe injustice and ostentation, any reverberations of this noble sacrifice for a humanitarian cause, which has become the true benchmark today for humanity, freedom, and human dignity.

What we witness and read in supportive stances toward the Palestinian people, condemning genocide and ethnic cleansing against them, is nothing but a clear warning of what is actually awaiting the world. It represents only a small fraction of the free voices rising from the four corners of the earth in support of a people facing the most horrific massacre and ethnic cleansing. Meanwhile, supporters are accused of anti-Semitism, as those in charge of technologies and algorithms are actively working to suppress anything they can from appearing and reaching the free consciences on this planet. Winners at the Berlin Film Festival described what the Palestinians are facing as genocide and apartheid, and the festival’s Instagram account featured the statement “Free Palestine from the river to the sea.” The American director Ben Russell also took the stage wearing a Palestinian koufiyyeh, and the Palestinian Basal Adra and the Israeli Yuval Abraham won the award for the best documentary depicting the expulsion of Palestinians from their own land by Israeli settlers.

Activists from both the Jewish and Christian communities in America have announced their support for Palestine, condemning the heinous genocide, the holocaust, and the ethnic cleansing perpetrated by Zionists against Palestinians. Additionally, the Sundance Film Festival in Utah witnessed a challenge to stand in solidarity with Palestine, as participants proudly carried Palestinian flags.

The most beautiful circumvention of censorship to support the Palestinian people involves bypassing restrictions that block any text containing the name Palestine or Gaza. This is achieved by adopting the colors of a watermelon, with its red pulp, green and white rind, and black seeds, symbolizing the colors of the Palestinian flag and expressing solidarity with the Palestinian cause. The depiction of a watermelon slice has become a unifying symbol for supporters of Palestine, transcending language barriers and cultural differences. Celebrities like Violet, daughter of the American star Ben Affleck, have worn the “Watermelon of Freedom” sweater. Despite facing harsh repercussions, American supporters of the Palestinian cause have endured tough decisions impacting their professional positions and institutions.

What Americans fail to acknowledge is that the experiences of other countries with them have matured and their awareness has evolved. The genocide perpetrated by the Zionists against the Palestinians has proved to the entire world the justice and the legitimacy of the Palestinian cause. It has also proven without a shadow of a doubt the Israeli and Western injustice inflicted on an indigenous population who only wants to live free and in dignity. The international response, despite attempts to suppress it in the media, undeniably demonstrates that international solidarity with the Palestinians includes Jews, Christians, and Muslims. All their feeble attempts to divide the peoples of the world based on ethnicity, religion, and sect have explicitly failed. Support for Palestine is now emerging from Latin American and South African nations, as well as from the Jewish movement in the United States with the slogan “Not in Our Name.” This is clearly the antithesis of all attempts to sow discord and division among religions and peoples, reaffirming, for the thousandth time, that shared humanity transcends the fabricated barriers and is the strongest and noblest bond uniting people on this planet. International solidarity across countries, religions, and cultures is the shortest path to achieving the common goal.

The United States government felt the pressure of international solidarity with Vietnam, which played a significant role in ending the American war on Vietnam. Similarly, South Africa, through its struggles and international support, managed to dismantle the horrible apartheid system. The Zionist lobbies controlling the United States and the West, since the invasion of Iraq, have tightened their grip on the media. They coined the term “Embedded Journalism”, restricting the dissemination of information only with the approval of the military commander. However, their wars on Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya all constitute a legacy in the memories of nations regarding the nature of their freedom-hostile motives, their tyrannical judgments, and the lack of credibility in their Zionist-controlled media and hypocritical political speeches.

Today, Western support for genocide and ethnic cleansing in Palestine represents the final nail in the coffin of their claims to democracy and human rights, as they extend political and military support to the Zionist war of genocide and ethnic cleansing against Palestinian children and women. Their monstrous practices to prevent a halt to the Zionist massacre, even in the Security Council, through the use of the veto, have placed them in the position of an aggressive, tyrannical force oppressing humanity. The noble and innocent blood shed in Palestine, with thousands of children and women falling victim, might be the latest crime they can perpetrate. As empowered forces genuinely believing in human rights and freedom start to emerge within their midst, it won’t be long before these forces become the strongest and most effective in steering the course of the future.

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