A letter penned by the infamous Al Qaeda terrorist Osama Bin Laden addressing the United States has gained widespread attention on social media. The letter, titled "Letter to the American People," stirred controversy due to its references to the Israel and Palestine conflict.
The Guardian initially featured the letter on its website, but it was taken down after the controversy erupted on social media.
Social Media Buzz Over Bin Laden's Letter
The letter is creating buzz on social media platform TikTok. People are sharing and discussing what he wrote, and this has made many curious about the issues he raised. Despite being over two decades old, the letter has found a new audience on TikTok, with some users expressing shock and even agreement with Bin Laden's perspective. The hashtag #lettertoamerica has garnered over 4.5 million views, indicating the significant impact of this social media trend. It was first published by The Guardian's website but owing to unprecedented controversy it created on social media, the publication removed it, which made more people interested in what it said.
Contents of the Letter
Central themes in the letter included Osama Bin Laden's accusations against the US, particularly its support for Israel and perceived oppression of Palestinians. Bin Laden attributed the suffering of Muslims in Afghanistan and Palestine to US-funding and justified attacks on American civilians as a form of retaliation. In the letter, Bin Laden tried to explain why he thinks the 9/11 attacks were justified.
"Your former president warned you previously about the devastating Jewish control of capital [wealth] and about a day that would come when it would enslave you," the letter said. "You continue to support the oppressive Israelis in their occupation of our Palestine in response to pressures on your administration by a Jewish lobby backed by enormous financial capabilities," Bin Laden wrote.
He also questioned why the United States supports Israel in what he calls the "occupation of Palestine." One part of the letter says, "Palestine has been under occupation for decades, and none of your presidents talked about it until after September 11..." The letter concluded with a warning that the United States will "pay for its arrogance with the blood of Christians" and a promise that "Palestine shall not be seen captive, for we will try to break its shackles."
The letter's reappearance, especially with the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, added more discussion about global terrorism, conflicts in different parts of the world, and how the United States deals with other countries.
Context of the Ongoing Israel-Hamas Conflict
This letter from Bin Laden came at a time when the conflict between Israel and Hamas has been going on for six weeks. It all started when Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7. This attack caused the death of over 1,200 people, mostly civilians. In response, Israel launched a big air and ground attack on northern Gaza, with the goal of removing Hamas from power and stopping its military.
During this conflict, people around the world are seen calling for a stop to the fighting. Many are upset about the heavy bombing in Gaza, where many lives, including children, have been lost. The hope is for the violence to end, and for leaders to find a peaceful way to resolve the issues in the region.
The Guardian's Decision to Remove the Letter
The Guardian, a news website that first shared Bin Laden's letter in 2002, decided to take it down on November 15, 2023. They did this because the letter became a big topic on social media. Surprisingly, removing the letter made more people interested in reading it now.
The Guardian said on its website, "This page used to show a document with the full text of Osama Bin Laden's 'letter to the American people.' This was reported in the Observer on Sunday, November 24, 2002." But they haven't explained why they took it down.