The Guardian, a leading British newspaper, has removed Osama bin Laden’s infamous ‘Letter to America’ from its website after the letter resurfaced on TikTok, sparking online debates.
The letter, originally published in November 2002 by The Observer, The Guardian’s sister publication, had been available on The Guardian’s site until November 15, 2023. The removal followed the letter’s circulation on TikTok, where users engaged in discussions and expressed varied opinions on Laden’s views. Some supported Laden’s justifications for the 9/11 attacks, citing U.S. interference in the Middle East during the cold war era as a rationale.
Lynette Adkins, a TikTok user, initiated the trend by urging her followers to read the ‘Letter to America,’ leading to widespread engagement and discussions on the platform. The Guardian’s decision to remove the document raised questions and sparked reactions on social media.
Users on X expressed surprise and curiosity about the removal, with one stating, “It’s incredibly odd for me that ‘A Letter to America’ penned by bin Laden was removed from The Guardian today.” Another user questioned the timing, saying, “Osama bin Laden’s letter to America starts trending on Twitter, and The Guardian immediately removes it from their archive?”
Responding to the controversy, a Guardian spokesperson clarified that the letter was circulating without its “original context.” The spokesperson mentioned that the transcript, published on their website 20 years ago, had been widely shared on social media recently.
Despite the removal, the letter gained prominence on The Guardian’s website, reaching the top of the platform amid the ongoing debates and discussions about Osama bin Laden’s comments on Palestine. The controversy has stirred conversations about the delicate balance between historical archives and contemporary scrutiny in the digital age.