Monday, March 18, 2024

Introducing “The Aarons”

Hollywood has its “Oscars” so why can’t the activist community have its “Aarons”?

Introducing “The Aarons”

 words & photos of the U.T. Students for Justice in Palestine  

Aaron Bushnell memorial event 

by C.A. Matthews

The last five months protesting the genocide in Gaza have brought together some very diverse people both online and offline. When a person commented on one of my Substack posts that they found it interesting how they were agreeing with me, a “Communist”, I was momentarily taken aback. Most Communists wouldn’t label me as such, in spite of my cool Substack and Twitter/X avatar picture with the In Event of Capitalist Crisis Break Glass fire alarm box with a hammer and sickle inside.

It really doesn’t make much difference to me how anyone labels what they perceive are my political leanings or philosophical outlook. I’d call myself a Christian Liberationist/Eco-Socialist, but if you want to call me a Green, or a Communist, or a Socialist, or an Anarchist, or a democratic socialist (small d) it doesn’t faze me one bit. I replied to the comment that I hoped I could be labeled “a human with a conscience” during these dark times when a genocide is being livestreamed on social media while simultaneously being denied by the corrupt and manipulative powers-that-be and their sycophants.

This brief interchange got me to thinking. What does it mean to be “a human with a conscience”? What would a human who possessed a conscience look or act like? And then it hit me. “A human with a conscience” is the perfect description of Aaron Bushnell. Aaron who sacrificially gave up his life in order to draw attention to the people of Gaza because it pained his conscience to see their suffering ignored. 

The signed photo was hung on the Free Speech board in the Univ. of Toledo Student Union

A human with a conscience such as Aaron should be praised, but often they’re dismissed, ridiculed, or scoffed at in our mainstream media. People are seldom truly acknowledged for their compassionate actions taken on behalf of others in our self-centered capitalist society. We praise billionaires and entrepreneurs for increasing their corporations’ profit margins instead of honoring all those kind souls who humbly help their neighbors.

Thus, the idea of “The Aarons” was born.

Superficial and self-centered Hollywood has its “Academy Awards” or “Oscars,” so why can’t the selfless and hard-working activist community have its “Aarons”? Officially the awards would be known as “A Human With A Conscience Awards.” I’d freely give them to as many people as possible so that nobody is forgotten or not thanked for their sacrificial giving to the world at large.

The awards presentation ceremony wouldn’t have to be a once a year event in a huge, glitzy theater with sparkly chandeliers and a red carpet because, let’s face it, activists aren’t usually into that sort of fancy dress-up and show off your bling thing. We could just throw a casual, come-as-you-are pot-luck supper while doing some food distribution to hungry folks in the park or near the community center where we passed out the awards. I think Aaron Bushnell would have approved.

My suggestion is we throw the first Human With A Conscience Awards here in inner-city Toledo at the Frederick Douglass Community Center (a.k.a. “The Doug”). But until I can get a non-profit organization set up so we can crowdfund some money in order to host and make the awards themselves, that big ceremony will have to wait. I’d also like to be able to provide a grant to each person or organization who wins/are nominated to help them continue their good work in the community. Because what’s the good of a statuette on your shelf if you’re in desperate need of funding to continue serving others? (If you have experience with creating a non-profit and would like to help me create one, please leave a comment below or direct message me. Thank you.) 

It’s time we recognize and celebrate all those who work selflessly to aid other human beings without regard to status, class, gender identity, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, or any other characteristic used by the bourgeoisie to divide us. Humans with a conscience are people who care about the people that our sick and twisted society ignores or sneers at because they aren’t “successful” in the dog-eat-dog world of capitalism, or what I call “the endless rat race” of accumulating monetary wealth or material gain.

Are there any other qualifications a person must meet in order to receive an Aaron? I believe my article on The New Litmus Test describes the essential character an Aaron recipient should have. First and foremost, they cannot be pro-genocide or pro-Zionist. They can’t be enthusiastic about white settler colonialism in any way, shape or form. Forcing indigenous peoples from their homeland isn’t a thing a compassionate human does or condones. Practicing racism and apartheid isn’t something to be proud of, in other words. Expressing classist or elitist opinions are telltale signs of a lack of conscience as well.

What about those who make excuses for those who commit or aid and abet genocide? Or those who simply turn a blind eye and pretend that a genocide in Gaza isn’t happening? These kinds of actions reveal to me they’re not worthy Aaron recipients. While pulling the trigger and killing another makes you a murderer, those who help the killer load the weapon or place it in the killer’s hand or commit perjury to cover for the killer's movements can also be charged with murder. 

For example, Hitler himself never hit the switches or turned any valves on the gas chambers at the death camps, now did he? Yet we consider Hitler responsible for the crime of genocide committed by his soldiers working under his orders. Kissing up to genocidal powers-that-be and then claiming later that you were “only following orders” or trying to fit in with the crowd to maintain your status or further your career doesn’t indicate that you ever put the needs of others before your own or even possessed a conscience in the first place. Actions like these will bring about their own rewards in time.

Genocide apologists who post vile comments online against the victims of Israeli violence are on par with the actual culprits, in my opinion. Anyone who spends so much time and energy trying to convince others they’re “good people” while making excuses for those who are ethnically cleansing innocent civilians and starving children probably wouldn’t want to hang with us do-gooders anyway. They're free to attend the Oscars instead.

Please drop me your suggestions of award categories and the names of humans and groups worthy of an Aaron in the comments below. My talented husband has helped me put together a meme that they can display on their social media accounts showing that they’ve been nominated for an Aaron in the meantime. Folks who see the meme will know to thank them for their service to their fellow human beings. And hopefully, this award will encourage others to demonstrate that they, too, have a conscience and want to help their neighbors at home and around the globe.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone on the planet could be nominated for a Human With a Conscience award? Wouldn’t you like to live in such a world? I know I would.

Here are some my ideas for Aaron recipients so far:

Best Medical Group with a Conscience: Doctors Without Borders

Best Food Distro Group with a Conscience: Food Not Bombs, Third Thursday

Best Community Center/Library Builder with a Conscience (Detroit): Unholy Rome with Tour for the Poor 

Best Activist Organizers with a Conscience: AMP – American Muslims for Palestine, Jewish Voice For Peace, Not In Our Name, Veterans for Peace, CodePink

Best Indie Podcasting Channel Highlighting the Struggle of the Workers with a Conscience: Revolutionary Blackout Network

Best Video Compiler Blogger with a Conscience: Truthful News Weekend on Beanstock's World

Best Network of Independent Podcasters with a Conscience: Indie News Network/Indie Media Today

Best Comedian-Journalist with a Conscience: Lee Camp, Ron Placone, Graham Elwood

Best Essayist/Political Commentator with a Conscience: Caitlin Johnstone (and Tim Foley), Chris Hedges, Julian McFarlane

Best Political Cartoonist with a Conscience: Mr. Fish (ScheerReport), Mark Taylor (DeMockracy Ink)

Best Independent Journalist with a Conscience: Max Blumenthal, Aaron Mate, Glenn Greenwald, Richard Medhurst

Best Documentary Maker with a Conscience: Abby Martin

Best Podcast Interviewer with a Conscience: Sabby Sabs, Briahna Joy Gray, Katie Halper, Joy Marie Mann

Best Alternative Radio Show with a Conscience: DJ Amjad’s Deep Mix: Music and More

Best Film-maker with a Conscience: Jonathan Glazer

Best Film Festival with a Conscience: The Media Decompression's 2024 Palestine Film Festival

Best Political Figure with a Conscience: Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party (Sign the pledge against genocide at her website; Claudia de la Cruz, Party of Socialism and Liberation; Dr. Cornel West

Best Religious Figure with a Conscience: the Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac of Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in the West Bank who gave the famous “Christ in the Rubble” sermon on Christmas Eve

Humans with a Conscience who sacrificed their lives in service to others: Rachel Corrie, Aaron Bushnell

I know I’ve left out a lot of worthy recipients. Share your thoughts below in the comments and share this link with your contacts who might have more suggestions. The main requirement to be nominated is to be “a human with a conscience” so, no A.I. ‘bots please! Also, no sociopaths, psychopaths, neoliberals, or other warmongers

We should all strive to be a human with a conscience and follow Aaron Bushnell’s instruction: Free Palestine!

Related Articles and Other Interesting Links 
Remembering Rachel Corrie: American in Gaza Crushed by Israeli Bulldozer 

They're Really Going To Try To Lay All The Blame For Gaza On Netanyahu

Genocidal Psychopaths Celebrate International Day To Combat Islamophobia

Killing Palestinians by Blocking Aid. Killing Palestinians by Airdropping Aid

US building Gaza port to facilitate mass 'voluntary' migration: Anadolu Agency

Report Exposes The Oil Giants ‘Fueling Israel’s War Machine’

Mapping the Business of War

Investigation exposes Israel's lies and shows they killed their own on Oct 7th

The US wants to ban TikTok to protect Israel's genocide

If Israel Wants To Be An "Independent Nation", Let It Be An Independent Nation

Crocodile Tears For Gaza While Backing Its Destruction

ACLU Slams House for Latest Plan to Ban TikTok and Stifle Free Speech
The Genocide in Gaza Is Filling Our Beautiful Month of Ramadan With Dread

Ending Impunity for the Crimes Against Palestinian and Israeli Civilians, A to Z

Canada and Sweden defy global trend: Rush to aid Palestinians as Israel faces torture allegations

US marathon runners wave Palestinian flag at Olympic trials

Unequal before the law

Biden’s Use of the Slur “Illegal” Underscores His Rightward Lurch on Immigration

Chris Hedges: Joe Biden’s Parting Gift to America Will be Christian Fascism

Black Alliance For Peace: Haiti Behind The Headlines

Judge Allows East Palestine Residents’ Lawsuit Against Norfolk Southern

The last days of Julian Assange in the United States

Failed ICJ Case Against Russia Backfires, Paves Way for Genocide Charges Against Ukraine

You Can't Trust Any Part Of This Dystopia If You Want Health And Sanity

Their Time Will Come (Say Free Palestine on Saint Patrick's Day)

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  1. The award is a great idea. Why not commemorate Aaron's ultimate sacrifice with a symbol of peace. God knows there's enough vileness out there in the world, it needs more people than ever to stand up for what's right.

    1. We need more people to know that others are also standing up for what's right... Because our mainstream media is doing its best to make all who are working toward peace and harmony think they're alone and doing it all by themselves. That can lead to burn out and despair. I hope that the Aarons will help activists realize that they're not alone and that what they do for their communities matters to all of us with a conscience.


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