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Twitter CEO Getting Majorly Blasted Over Meditation Retreat

Jack Dorsey's Twitter thread about Myanmar is being called tone deaf
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2018 3:33 PM CST

(Newser) – Jack Dorsey is under serious fire on his own platform thanks to some ill-advised tweets about his birthday present to himself. The Twitter CEO traveled to Myanmar to enjoy a 10-day silent meditation, and he shared all about it in what many are calling a tone deaf series of tweets. "Looks like that silent retreat kept him silent about the ethnic cleansing of #Rohingya" Muslims in the country, reads one sample tweet reply to Dorsey. "Out of all the places you picked a spot w/ an ongoing genocide," reads another. Read on for more:

  • The tweets: Dorsey explained what exactly a vipassana meditation is, talked about how great Myanmar is and urged his followers to visit, mentioned his Apple Watch and Oura ring and how they lent insight into the whole experience, and shared details from "push[ing] through til the end" after catching a cold to the amazingness of listening to a Kendrick Lamar album after the 10 days of silence ended. Read the Twitter thread in full here.
  • The main controversy: Most people took issue with Dorsey's failure to mention the plight of the Rohingya, and the New York Times has more on that. Before 2012, when Myanmar was ruled by a repressive military junta, one could argue that by visiting the country, "you were lending important financial support to ordinary people who were not involved in the junta and were largely innocent of any moral wrongdoing," says one travel expert. Not so today, he continues, as the Aung San Suu Kyi-led government's actions "enjoy a degree of popular support within the general population."
  • Social media's contribution: Multiple people pointed out the role social media itself has played in the Rohingya crisis; one person pointed out that the Myanmar military "weaponized Facebook" to incite violence and shared this article explaining how.

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  • Human rights: The Guardian takes note of this tweet from Andrew Stroehlein, the European media director of Human Rights Watch: "I’m no expert on meditation, but is it supposed to make you so self-obsessed that you forget to mention you’re in a country where the military has committed mass killings & mass rape, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee, in one of today’s biggest humanitarian disasters?"
  • But that's not all: Dorsey was also criticized for being generally clueless when it comes to his privilege; Mashable rounds up the eye-rolling responses to many of Dorsey's tweets, including one person who compared Dorsey to Gavin Belson, the comically villainous CEO from HBO's Silicon Valley who also went on a meditation trip in Asia.
  • Paying for pain: Others LOLed at the fact that Dorsey proudly tweeted about getting 117 mosquito bites in 10 minutes. "He sat down and counted each bite so he could tweet about it on his own platform," observed one user.
  • Speaking of pain: Some took issue with the fact that Dorsey talked about the physical discomfort of the meditation and noted that "vipassana would likely be good for those suffering chronic pain to help manage it." One response to that idea: "Poor people sit in their pain every day all day because they can’t afford proper healthcare. But instead of sitting in it they go to work and take care of their families."
  • Summing it all up: "You’ve confused entitlement with enlightenment," says one Twitter user. Adds another: "as a rule Buddhists never say this, but you are doing Buddhism wrong. Literally and allegorically." And then there's this: "If you had actually learned anything. You would have said nothing."
(Dorsey was recently involved in a Twitter argument regarding homelessness.)

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