Skip navigation

Confronting the Secretary of Genocide

2 March 2024

By Isra Nadeem 

The tragic death of Aaron Bushnell during the past weekend has brought to light the deep frustration and helplessness felt by many when it comes to the ongoing conflict in Palestine. Aaron's desperate act was fueled by a desire to raise awareness and confront complicity. As we mourn his loss, let us honor his memory by continuing to pressure our government to call for a ceasefire and no more money to Israel. Together, we can strive for peaceful resolutions and advocate for the Palestinian people.

Monday February, 29th

On Monday, a delegation of high school students hailing from various parts of the country that attend Buxton in Massachusetts, arrived in Congress to make their voices heard. Specifically, they visited the offices of Congressional representatives to appeal for a ceasefire and cessation of U.S. support for Israel. The students' concerns stem from the possibility of Congress voting on a $14 billion allocation towards Israel's activities in Gaza, as they have returned from their recess earlier than anticipated. We have made it clear that we are calling on the women of the Progressive Caucus to support the ceasefire in Gaza, with the belief that universal women's rights should be upheld.

Tuesday February, 27th 

On Tuesday, we attended the Senate Foreign Affairs hearing on Yemen.  During the hearing, CODEPINK co-director Danaka Katovich disrupted proceedings, condemning what she called the committee's support for genocide in Gaza. The U.S. continues to attack Yemen in response to their blockade, which could be easily solved by ceasing support for Israel. Danaka demanded an immediate ceasefire and criticized officials for ignoring the recent self-immolation of the U.S. Airman Aaron Bushnell in protest against U.S. complicity in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Danaka accused the committee of disregarding the Houthis' blockade demands to end Gaza's alleged genocide. Despite being detained, she was later released. 

Wednesday February, 28th 

On Wednesday, we continued down our lists of the progressive caucus who advocate for women's rights but refuse to call for a ceasefire. We also got the opportunity to confront Rep Meuser of Pennsylvania. When pressed about his initiatives to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and halt the violence, Rep. Meuser failed to offer substantive responses. Instead, he resorted to disparaging language, referring to Gazans as "animalistic." From the Knesset to Capitol Hill, it's clear that racism is shaping support for Israel's actions in Gaza, which many deem genocidal.

Thursday February, 29th 

On Thursday, the House convened a hearing concerning the health of the Secretary of Defense. We entered the hearing in hopes of reminding the members of the ongoing genocide. Still, we and individuals not participating in any demonstration were removed before it started. It raises questions about the nature of democracy when the public is denied access to public hearings. While Congress devotes significant time to deliberating Secretary Austin's health and his management of his absence, there appears to be a conspicuous avoidance of discussing the health crisis in Gaza. The situation in Gaza is dire, with indiscriminate bombing causing immense suffering among the besieged population. It's imperative to call for an immediate ceasefire and cessation of U.S. support for Israel. We were able to confront Secretary of Defense Austin on his way out. Although he tried to walk away shamefully, we were able to express that he was the "Secretary of Genocide." We also got to attend a press conference with progressive members from the Squad, such as Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. They spoke about the importance of reiterating that Biden must call for a ceasefire before the attack on Rafah.

Friday March, 1st 

We ended the week off with wonderful Palestinian families joining us in Congress. They got to go to many representative offices and explain their concerns about starvation in Gaza and the importance of calling for a ceasefire. These families have faced catastrophic loss; despite that, they are hopeful. We can save the rest of the Palestinians by pushing our representatives to call for a permanent ceasefire.