Twitter Chief Responds to Criticism of Myanmar Meditation Vacation: I ‘Need to Learn More’

“I’m aware of the human rights atrocities and suffering in Myanmar,” Jack Dorsey says after previously not mentioning country’s mass slaughter of the Muslim Rohingya minority

Jack Dorsey
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Twitter chief Jack Dorsey responded to criticism he received after a 10 day meditation vacation in Myanmar, conceding to critics on Tuesday that he needed to become better educated about issues in the country that is currently in the grips of a mass slaughter of their Muslim Rohingya minority.

“I’m aware of the human rights atrocities and suffering in Myanmar,” he said in a tweet attached to his earlier thread offering glowing praise of the country. “I don’t view visiting, practicing, or talking with the people, as 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.”

“This was a purely personal trip for me focused on only one dimension: meditation practice,” he insisted.

Dorsey then went on to inform users what Twitter was doing in response to the Rohingya crisis.

“Twitter is a way for people to share news and information about events in Myanmar as well as to bear witness to the plight of the Rohingya and other peoples and communities. We’re actively working to address emerging issues. This includes violent extremism and hateful conduct,” he said. “We know we can’t do this alone, and continue to welcome conversation with and help from civil society and NGOs within the region. I had no conversations with the government or NGOs during my trip.”

Dorsey, a longtime meditation enthusiast, said he went to Myanmar to practice a form of “vipassana meditation,” which he said is still maintained in the country in its traditional form. Vipassana meditation is the oldest form of meditation in the Buddhist tradition and requires the meditator to use “his concentration as a tool by which his awareness can chip away at the wall of illusion that cuts him off from the living light of reality,” according to an explainer from The Buddhist Review.

In his original post — which made no mention of the current human rights issues facing the country — Dorsey gushed about his experience and lauded the friendly people he met.

“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 said.

Myanmar has come in for intense international criticism in recent years for its persecution of the Rohingya, and also for taking a tough line on journalists looking to cover the situation. On Tuesday, Time Magazine cited Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo in their  “Person of the Year” issue. The pair are currently imprisoned in Myanmar as a result of their tough reporting of the current regime.