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Jack Dorsey had an amazing birthday in Myanmar, where social media enabled genocide
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is a big boy now. He just turned 42 years old, and to celebrate, Dorsey went on a 10-day trip to Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar. The birthday boy loved his time practicing silent vipassana meditation in the country, where he listened to his favorite artist Kendrick Lamar and used his shiny new Apple Watch.
To celebrate, Dorsey wrote a thread filled with over a dozen tweets about his journey, and in the end, he encouraged his followers to go to Myanmar.
For my birthday this year, I did a 10-day silent vipassana meditation, this time in Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar 🇲🇲. We went into silence on the night of my birthday, the 19th. Here’s what I know 👇🏼
— jack 🌍🌏🌎 (@jack) December 9, 2018
On day 11, all I wanted to do was listen to music, and I again turned to my favorite poet, @kendricklamar and his album DAMN. The greatest effect coming out of silence is the clarity one has in listening. Every note stands alone. https://t.co/FliDncWfnC
— jack (@jack) December 9, 2018
I also wore my Apple Watch and Oura ring, both in airplane mode. My best meditations always had the least variation in heart rate. When I wasn’t focused, it would jump around a lot. Here’s a night of sleep on the 10th night (my resting heart rate was consistently below 40). pic.twitter.com/9fiz8s8DR5
— jack (@jack) December 9, 2018
And if you’re willing to travel a bit, go to Myanmar: https://t.co/9qKm78uq7o
— jack (@jack) December 9, 2018
Of course, Dorsey forgot one minor note: Just two years ago, Myanmar’s government took place in a violent campaign against its Muslim Rohingya population that has been labeled a genocide by the United Nations.
“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 and mass rape, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee, in one of today’s biggest humanitarian disasters?” Human Rights Watch’s Andrew Stroehlein tweeted.
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? https://t.co/D7I26CPTQ8
— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) December 9, 2018
Jack making tourism in Myanmar rn is a perfect metaphor for the way tech companies have thrown gasoline on the mess we’re in. https://t.co/aK4xrUTZz7
— Emma Beals (@ejbeals) December 9, 2018
Hi @jack. I would love to sit down you with you and discuss, mindfully of course, the reality of life on the ground for the #Rohingya people in #Myanmar. You may not have seen that reality on your trip because almost 750k of these people have fled to Bangladesh in the past year. https://t.co/JxsGWU2FAL
— Thomas Sadoski (@ThomasSadoski) December 9, 2018
In a report from earlier this year, UN investigators spoke to over 800 witnesses who had fled Myanmar from the country’s military. Survivors recalled stories of military personnel “killing indiscriminately, gang-raping women, assaulting children, and burning entire villages,” according to the Guardian. The Human Rights Watch has since called for “advance criminal justice for atrocious crimes” amid the “mass atrocities.”
Furthermore, members of the Myanmar military spread misinformation across Facebook in an attempt to put the country’s Buddhist majority against the Rohingya. While Facebook eventually cracked down on Myanmar military personnel, human rights groups “blame the anti-Rohingya propaganda for inciting murders, rapes, and the largest forced human migration in recent history,” according to an October report from the New York Times.
One would think Dorsey, the leader behind one of the biggest social media platforms in the world, would be keenly aware of social media’s role in the Myanmar genocide before visiting—or promoting—the country. Doing so essentially ignores the atrocities and social media’s role in promoting them. But this is Dorsey we’re talking about, who Seth Rogen once famously said: “does not seem to give a fuck.”
Once again, that adage was proven true.
jack went to a country where an ongoing genocide has been exacerbated by the negligence of a major social media company to do a rich white person meditation retreat for his birthday. absolute lad https://t.co/RpBvC8x6E8
— chris hooks (@cd_hooks) December 9, 2018
It’s actually pretty on brand for @jack to promote going to a country where they’re committing genocide as some sort of low key meditation retreat.
— john r stanton (@dcbigjohn) December 9, 2018
The government of Myanmar is actively engaging in genocide so cool you went there to get away from it all jack guess that would make sense why you don’t give a shit about nazis on your site too huh https://t.co/tmKgo419we
— Skagit Slough Witch (@hannummontanum) December 9, 2018
I mean, this tweet, about Jack's experience with meditation tourism in Myanmar, is literally beyond parody. You cannot make this funnier than it already inadvertently is.https://t.co/8c1k5zv3z3
— Jeff B. (@EsotericCD) December 9, 2018
Jack hurting his ass on a floor in Myanmar and thinking "I bet if chronic pain sufferers meditated they'd learn to suck it up" explains a lot about Twitter really https://t.co/hosj4V5zN4
— It's Ettin (@Ettin64) December 9, 2018
between elon musk crying about not being able to tweet and jack dorsey's meditation retreat down the road from a genocide it has been an amazing couple of days for just flagrantly demonstrating how incredibly fucking stupid rich people are
— Liveware Problem (@NoraReed) December 10, 2018
It’s unclear how Dorsey feels about his platform’s universal disdain for his Myanmar trip. Chances are he thinks he’s a victim, though. Case in point, Dorsey has liked a post defending him from “vacation shaming” after he was unable to comment on a BuzzFeed report amid his comments on India’s caste system.
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Waypoint, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone's Glixel, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.