CEO slammed for promoting Myanmar twitter, ignoring Rohingya

CEO slammed for promoting Myanmar twitter, ignoring Rohingya

Dorsey visited Myanmar for a 10-day meditation retreat and tourism [File: Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters]

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has been criticised for encouraging his 4.12 million followers to go to Myanmar, without mentioning the widespread allegations of ethnic cleansing of the country’s majority-Muslim Rohingya ethnic group.



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In a lengthy thread on Twitter, Dorsey, 42, described at length his experience on a silent meditation retreat in Pyin Oo Lwin, a town in northern Myanmar, before encouraging his followers to go to the South Asian country.

“Myanmar can be an absolutely beautiful country. The social folks are filled with joy and the meals is amazing, on Saturday evening ” he said in the post.

There was no reference to the plight of the Rohingya in the a lot more than 700-word thread. 

More than 730,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state in 2017, in accordance with the United Nations, following a sweeping army crackdown in reaction to Rohingya attacks on security forces.

Rohingya refugees in neighbouring Bangladesh say Myanmar Buddhist and soldiers civilians killed families, burned many villages, and completed gang-rape. UN-mandated investigators have accused Myanmar’s army of “genocidal intent”.

Myanmar has denied the allegations, saying its forces engaged in a counter-insurgency operation against “terrorists”

Dorsey’s comments provoked a backlash with Twitter users accusing the Silicone Valley boss to be tone-deaf to the plight of the Rohingya and spawning the hashtag #JackIgnoresGenocide.

“I’m no expert on meditation, but could it be supposed to cause you to so self-obsessed that you forget to say you’re in a country where in fact the military has committed mass killings and mass rape, forcing thousands to flee in another of today’s biggest humanitarian disasters?” Andrew Stroehlein, the European media director of Human Rights Watch, responded on Twitter.

International lawyer Suchitra VIjayan also weighed in comparing the “silence” Dorsey sought from his meditation to his tight-lipped method of the plight of the Rohingya. 

Matthew Smith, CEO of Southeast Asia-based human rights NGO Fortify Rights, told Al Jazeera that Dorsey had “at best” miscalculated the reaction his post would provoke.

“It is important that powerful people know and understand the landscape of abuse in Myanmar and speak openly and publicly about any of it. Genocide is everyone’s problem, even though we don’t expect everyone to discuss it publicly at every turn, atrocity crimes will be the elephant in the area pertaining to social media marketing here,” Smith said.

“Mr Dorsey’s failure to say the Rohingya or the Kachin, the Shan, and other [ethnic groups in Myanmar] was a political miscalculation at best. The pope made exactly the same mistake. It isn’t an excellent look”.

Social media in Myanmar

It was the next time Dorsey kicked up a social media storm in as much months. November in, an image of him with a placard saying “smash Brahminical patriarchy”, discussing the best Hindu caste, went viral.

Twitter apologised for the photo, that was taken throughout a visit to India and posted by way of a journalist Dorsey met during his visit.

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Dorsey have not taken care of immediately the criticism over his stop by at Myanmar publicly, but a person with understanding of the trip stressed to Al Jazeera it had been any occasion and Dorsey didn’t hold conferences within the country.

Social media companies have drawn criticism for allegedly allowing hate speech to spread at the peak of the military crackdown in Myanmar.

In August 2017, a huge selection of new Twitter accounts sprang up in Myanmar, a lot of which were attempts to counter sympathetic portrayals of the Rohingya by the Western press and human rights activists.

They portrayed the ethnic minority as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, or “Bengalis.” Rohingya regard themselves as native to Rakhine however the government has denied a lot of them citizenship.

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Additional reporting by Charlotte Mitchell: 

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SOURCE : Al news and Jazeera}

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