In the realm of social media platform TikTok, there has recently been a viral sensation surrounding a document known as the “Letter to America” written by Osama Bin Laden. This letter, believed to have been drafted in 2002, a year after the attacks on the Twin Towers, has resurfaced in popularity among Generation Z users, who are sharing and analyzing its content.
Spanning three pages, the letter distributed twenty-one years ago details the reasons that, according to Bin Laden, led to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon. In it, Bin Laden explains to Americans, particularly the younger generation, the motivations behind these acts.
A search for the term “Letter to America” on TikTok yields numerous videos, some of which have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. Among these, one stands out by a user named Lynette Adkins, who urges viewers to read Bin Laden’s letter and share their thoughts, as she herself experienced an existential crisis after reading it. In the comments section of her video, some users express having had similar revelations.
Another user on the platform shared the complete text of the letter, expressing their opinion that the population has been deceived regarding Bin Laden and his actions. This user reflects on the global reaction to Bin Laden’s capture and death, suggesting that the world deserves better than what it has received from the United States.
In 2002, Bin Laden wrote this letter to justify the terrorist attacks against the United States. The relevance of the document, even after twenty-one years, and its sudden viralization may be linked to Bin Laden’s criticism of the United States for supporting the creation and maintenance of Israel on Palestinian territory. In the letter, Bin Laden argued that anyone who contributed to this “crime” should pay a severe price, even justifying the killing of civilians who, through their taxes, would have supported US foreign policy.
The reexamination of Bin Laden’s words has led some young TikTok users to question the American narrative surrounding the 9/11 attacks, being startled by the idea that they may have been presented with a biased version of the events.
The renewed interest in the “Letter to America” has prompted one of Europe’s leading newspapers, The Guardian, to remove the document from its website, where it had been available for over two decades. Now, when searching for “Letter to America” on Google, one of the top results used to be The Guardian’s page hosting the letter, but it now only displays a notice that the document was removed on November 15, 2023. However, a complete version of the letter remains available on the official website of the United States Director of National Intelligence.