Why Are Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein's Names Trending Online Again?

Published October 22nd, 2020 - 06:09 GMT
Why Are Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein's Names Trending Online Again?
Both Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden had been amongst the US list of most-wanted men. (Al Bawaba)

Many years after their demise, several figures are gaining increasing attention in the online world, including the former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein who was overthrown by the US 2003 invasion and executed in 2007, in addition to the Saudi-born founder of the terrorist Al-Qaeda organization, Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a US 2011 airstrike in Pakistan.

Even though it's normal to see online discussions over historical figures every now and then, it's fairly unusual for the internet world to be busy with multiple old names at a time they no longer pause a threat to the world, especially as the world already has too many issues to tackle at once since the beginning of 2020.

Recently, Bin Laden's name has made a strong media presence that coincided with the approaching US elections. Not only did media outlets interview and report political views of Bin Laden's family members, as in the New York Post and Fox News interviews with his niece, Noor, who voiced out her support for Donald Trump's re-election, his name was also mentioned during the town hall interview with Trump two weeks ago. In that interview, the president faced a question over tweeting conspiracy theory claims, which suggest that the former most wanted man in the world hasn't been killed in 2011, triggering a lot of controversies.

Additionally, Saddam Hussein's name has gone viral online following an episode of the Al Jazeera English podcast Hindsight shed light on the former Iraqi president's life, using the first-person narration.

Causing even stronger online controversy, was the Twitter appearance of Bin Laden's daughter, Saba, whose tweets triggered many conversations about 9/11 and the US wars started afterward.

The timing of how these online conversations have come together before US elections, could suggest that certain Western political agendas might be searching for "a foreign enemy figure" that everyone would want to stand against, which could unite political voices for one side or another; most especially to draw the attention of the growing right-wing sentiment in some Western countries.

This claim has been supported by the recent clash between the French President Emmanuel Macron and the Muslim community in France in light of his remarks against what he termed as "separatist Islam" vowing to step up against it. 

Many analysts have linked Macron's remarks with his preparations for the French upcoming elections in less than two years, saying that he is trying to attract the votes of citizens leaning towards the right, who usually advocate strong anti-immigration policies and warn of "the danger caused" by Muslim immigrants who mostly hail from North Africa.

Only weeks after the tensions triggered by Macron's speech, a Muslim student who has been granted asylum beheaded a French teacher, who had shown controversial cartoons that had been deemed "offensive" by many Muslims to his class, sending shock waves across France.


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