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I am human and I stand with those who suffer!

Jim Crow South is a term referring to the racist laws and practices applied in the southern states of the United States between the 19th and 20th centuries. That period represents a time when privileges and discrimination prevailed between black and white Americans. The Jim Crow laws legally sanctioned discrimination against black Americans in many aspects of society, enforcing racial segregation in separate schools, buses, and other public places.

This period is a painful example of racial discrimination in America’s history, focusing on viewing black Americans as second-class citizens and depriving them of civil rights. However, with the influence of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, a strong resistance emerged against this discriminatory system, leading to legal regulations that put an end to racial discrimination.

We heard about Jim Crow South again last weekend during a protest in Washington. The tragic incident of Sergeant Aaron Bushnell, a 25-year-old serving in the US Air Force, in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington brought back the deep concern surrounding the Palestinian issue worldwide. Bushnell set himself on fire and shouted “Freedom for Palestine,” publishing a manifesto. This act was a clear expression of the decision not to be complicit in the ongoing crime of genocide.

In a social media video he shared before, Bushnell drew attention to the oppression experienced by Palestinians, emphasizing that his action was actually a protest to express the suffering of people in Palestine. However, in a social media post where he shared his thoughts before this radical action, he emphasized, “Many of us ask ourselves the following question: ‘What would I do if I were living in the era of slavery? Or in the Jim Crow South? Or during the era of racial discrimination? What would I do if my country was committing genocide?’ The answer is: You are already doing it.” This underscored that the current period is equivalent to the atrocities experienced throughout history.

Protests against Israel have reached a global scale Protests held worldwide against Israel indicate that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has spread to a global framework. Israel’s military operations against Palestine and the retaliatory rocket attacks by Palestinian groups have led people to take to the streets in many countries.

In various regions of the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, thousands of people are opposing Israel’s attacks on Palestine and calling for peace and justice. The fact that Israel’s attacks on Palestine target civilians has drawn the reaction of the international community. In many countries, civil society organizations, human rights advocates, and political leaders are issuing condemnation messages against Israel and demanding an end to the conflict.

In addition to protests, opposition to arms deals with Israel has also increased in some countries. Especially in Europe, protests against arms sales to Israel have been organized, and stricter scrutiny and restrictions on this matter are being demanded.

However, protests in many countries are not going beyond a feeble voice. Political leaders and the international community need to intensify efforts to find a solution. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the accompanying global protests once again highlight how urgent the need for peace and justice is.

Bushnell’s tragic incident also brought the US’s relationship with Israel back into focus. The genocide in Palestine, which Joe Biden described as “exaggerated,” came up in the Michigan Democratic Party primary. In this election, many influential Democrats, from Arab and Muslim legislative bodies to unions and Jewish groups, demanded a departure from the administration’s Israel policy. However, Biden’s unwavering stance on this issue is unlikely to change.

Compared to Norman Morrison, who set himself on fire in front of the Pentagon on November 2, 1965, to protest America’s role in the Vietnam War, Bushnell’s action is surprising in its indifference to what is happening in a democratic country like America.

Bushnell lost his life 7 hours after US Secret Service agents extinguished his flames. The mainstream American media did not draw parallels with Norman Morrison, who set himself on fire almost 60 years ago in front of the Pentagon. Morrison’s sacrifice as a protest against American intervention in the Vietnam War inspired British poet and writer Adrian Mitchell’s verses.

Mitchell, during a time when people were being set on fire in Vietnam, carried out the same action in Washington where everyone could see. He burned his clothes, passport, and himself.

These actions were not just a protest; they were also a symbol of transformation that transcended one’s identity, past, and even skin color. With their actions, Aaron Bushnell, Norman Morrison, and Adrian Mitchell not only speak as individuals but also convey the following message on behalf of all humanity: “I am human and I stand with those who suffer.”

The complexity of international relations highlights the similarities and differences between the Israel-Palestine issue and the Russia-Ukraine war, revealing the fragilities of geopolitical dynamics and international politics.

Diplomatic and dialogue channels must be kept open The Israel-Palestine issue is a compass that carries historical depth and involves the complex relationships of various actors in the region. US policies on this issue create sensitivity regarding both the rights of the Palestinian people and the security of Israel. Diplomacy and dialogue are of critical importance for resolving this complexity. The prospect of Israel and Hamas sitting down for negotiations is a hopeful development for achieving peace.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict is another significant event that affects regional and global balances. Russia’s intervention in Ukraine under Putin’s leadership carries historical and strategic depth. This situation puts forward a search for balance on the international stage, increasing tensions in US relations with Russia. Diplomacy is a critical tool for ending this conflict and ensuring stability in the region.

However, the influence of American warmongers is inevitable in these processes. Determining factors in US foreign policy have the potential to influence the course of conflicts. This complicates efforts to achieve balance in international relations. Therefore, all these dynamics demonstrate how complex and challenging the pursuit of stability on a global level is.

In this turbulent period on the international stage, the Israel-Palestine conflict and the Russia-Ukraine tension are just a few of the significant elements influencing world politics. In both cases, the international community must act swiftly for a peaceful solution. Regional power balances, political interests, and historical tensions continue to complicate the resolution processes.

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YÜKSEL DURGUT is a journalist with a primary focus on global politics and foreign affairs. He serves as the Foreign Relations Director of the International Journalists Association e.V. and holds the position of Editor-in-Chief at Journalist Post.

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