Twitter CEO slammed for endorsement of Myanmar tourism

25th Jan 2019
Twitter CEO slammed for endorsement of Myanmar tourism

Twitter chief Jack Dorsey mocked for ‘tone deaf’ Myanmar comments

(Photo: Rory Cellan/Fickr)

Elham Asaad Buaras

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has been criticised for a seeming “tone-deaf” endorsement of tourism in Myanmar, a country recently accused by a UN fact-finding mission of pursuing a campaign of “genocide” against the Muslim (Rohingya) minority since August 2017.

Dorsey’s comments sparked a backlash, with many people criticising him for ignoring the county’s treatment of its Rohingya ethnic minority.

Tweeting about his 10-day meditation trip on December 9, Dorsey wrote, ‘Myanmar is an absolutely beautiful country. The people are full of joy and the food is amazing. I visited the cities of Yangon, Mandalay, and Bagan. We visited and meditated at many monasteries around the country.’

He continues, ‘Understanding the inner nature as a way to understand everything. It [his form of meditation] was rediscovered by Gautama the Buddha 2,500 years ago through rigorous scientific self-experimentation to answer the question: how do I stop suffering? ’

That tweet was heavily derided. Political commentator, author, and founder of TheBlaze, Glenn Beck, scoffed, “Isn’t that neat? The multi-billionaire went on a silent meditation vacation to look inside himself and figure out how can he stop suffering. Meanwhile, the place where he took his vacation and tweeted those precious moments is a place full of suffering called Burma.”

Writing for Channel News Asia political commentator Nehginpao Kipgen accused Dorsey of failing ‘to use his visit to highlight the plight of the Rohingya community, hundreds of thousands of whom have been forced to flee the country since the outbreak of violence took place more than two years ago.’

National Executive Director for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Nihad Awad, said: “Now is the time to increase pressure on Burma to recognise the basic human rights and citizenship of Rohingya Muslims, allow them to return safely to their homes and grant restitution, not to turn a blind eye to the ongoing atrocities in that nation.”

Defending his comments, Dorsey said: “I’m aware of the human rights atrocities and suffering in Myanmar. I don’t view visiting, practising, or talking with the people, as an endorsement … I didn’t intend to diminish by not raising the issue, but could have acknowledged that I don’t know enough and need to learn more.”

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