Osama Bin Laden’s letter from 21 years ago is viral on TikTok after a TikTok user, Lynnette Adkins implored her 12 million followers to read the letter. The founder of Al Qaeda had written the letter only a year after the 9/11 attacks. The source was an article from 2002 on the Guardian’s website, that now in a bid to stop the virality, has been removed.
Following Adkins, Tik-Tokers posted their reactions to the “Letter to America”, arguing that it had opened up their minds to the hypocrisies of American politics. Some even claimed that it made them reevaluate their view of the September 11 attacks.
Amidst the Israel-Hamas conflict, parts of the letter where Bin Laden wrote about Palestinian occupation have generated speculation. A segment of the letter read: “Palestine has been under occupation for decades, and none of your presidents talked about it until after September 11 when Bush realized that your oppression and the tyranny against us were part of the reason for the attack.”
Another part commanded, “You have to implement a roadmap that returns the Palestine land to us, all of it, from the sea to the river; it is an Islamic land not subject to being traded or granted to any party.”Osama Bin Laden's Letter To America Goes Viral On TikTok 21 Years Later
TikTok users have even announced being in agreement with Laden’s reasons behind the attacks on the World Trade Centre. From a “retribution for the Cold War era” to “meddling in the Middle East and establishing American dominance”, parts of the letter have garnered worldwide attention.
Responses from fellow TikTokers include “my eyes have been opened.” Another user named raeyreads who shared the letter on Tik Tok said, “We’ve been lied to our entire lives, I remember watching people cheer when Osama was found and killed.”
In another video, a TikTok user told her viewers, “So I just read ‘A Letter to America’ and I will never look at life the same. I will never look at this country the same. I will never— please read it, and if you have read it, let me know if you are also going through an existential crisis at this very moment because, in the last twenty minutes, my entire viewpoint on the entire life I have believed and I have lived has changed.”
In her video, Adkins mentioned, “TikTok is going to save this generation”, requesting her viewers to reconsider the way older American generations have been taught to think. As a result of the TikTok trend and the Guardian’s prompted removal of the article, searches for the letter surged on the platform.
Indian Reddit has also seen refreshed arguments of the letter. Public_Ad1218 commented, “We must always remember there is more to the story, than what we are being told by our governments and the media.”
X users have also given their two cents. While one user tweeted, “I expected the "Letter to America" by Osama Bin Laden to be full of hatred and lies. Surprisingly, I was very wrong”, another wrote, “The fact “Letter to America” has been up for 20 years and JUST now being taken down because people are reading it and fully realizing what American is really like.”
In fact, the Guardian’s action has also added to the debate of media “controlling narratives” and some have taken this opportunity to remind their audience of the importance of critiquing media’s role in geopolitical conflicts.
The Guardian, in a statement, claimed that it removed the text after it became “widely shared” on social media “without its original context.” “Therefore we have decided to take it down and direct readers to the news article that originally contextualized it instead,” the newspaper said.
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