Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is under fire for a series of tweets he sent upon returning from a 10-day meditation retreat in Myanmar.
The 42-year-old executive, who wrote positively about the country and its people, did not mention the plight of the Rohingya, a mostly Muslim minority group that has faced a series of vicious attacks at the hands of Myanmar’s military.
Since August 2017, an estimated 10,000 Rohingya are reported to have been murdered, according to Doctors Without Borders. In addition, at least 750,000 people, according to Amnesty International, have been forced over the border to Bangladesh.
Dorsey’s tweets, which detailed his experiences with vipassana meditation and serving food to monks and nuns, encouraged others to visit the center he stayed at and mentioned that Myanmar’s people are “full of joy,” were seen by some as politically tone deaf.
“Absolutely astounded that you don’t seem to think the people on your feed merit a response in relation to your tone-deaf tweets,” one Twitter user wrote. “You think staying silent is going to make the outrage dissipate?!”
Another Twitter user said: “Any chance you could support meditation and spirituality without also supporting a regime in the midst of a horrifying ethnic cleansing? Myanmar has literally created the world’s largest stateless population and perpetrated numerous well-documented atrocities vs the Rohingya.”
Another Twitter user suggested: “Maybe you should have spent 10 days in some of the #rohingya villages and refugee camps, seeing the results of the lies and hate spread on your wonderful US-based “technology” platform. Really classy, @jack. Really classy.”
A source familiar with Dorsey’s trip told Fox News that Myanmar is one of the only places to provide the type of meditation he was seeking.
However, some users responded positively to Dorsey’s tweet thread, defending the CEO.
“So [people] want Myanmar to be spoken of EXCLUSIVELY in the context of the plight of the Rohingya, and that to not mention them in specific personal experiences of Myanmar is to condone the Rohingya’s suffering?” one user wrote.
Another opined: “Thank you for your good deeds in our country.”
In June, Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were sentenced to seven years behind bars for “breaching the country’s official secrets act” after being accused of obtaining classified documents. However, their trial was largely viewed as a sham by the international community.
Myanmar has consistently denied that its military has committed atrocities against the Rohingya, claiming it was only responding to attacks from militants. But United Nations officials and human rights groups have said that top Myanmar generals should face trial in an international court for genocide.
Whether or not the atrocities will impact tourism to Myanmar is an open question.
According to The New York Times, year-on-year visitor arrivals of American and Canadian travelers in Myanmar were down nearly 15 percent through September and dropped more than 26 percent for visitors from Western Europe.
“If three million Westerners don’t want to come, then three million easterners will come,” U Win Zaw Oo, chairman of the Mandalay Tourist Guide Society, told the Times. “Our country will not be ruined as Westerners want it to be. We can manage.”
As for Dorsey, he may be regretting his last tweet from the Myanmar thread, in which he said:
“Thanks for reading! Always happy to answer any questions about my experience. Will track responses to this thread. I’ll continue to do this every year, and hopefully do longer and longer each time. The time I take away to do this gives so much back to me and my work.”