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Bob Rae’s final report: A glimpse of hope for Rohingya

By Saifullah Muhammad

Prime minister’s special envoy to Myanmar, Bob Rae, released a report Tuesday urging Canada to “signal a willingness” to welcome Rohingya refugees and implement sanctions against those responsible for the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the southeast Asian country.

The report titled: “Tell them we’re human,” also states that there is evidence “to support the charge that crimes against humanity have been committed” in Myanmar.

The federal government says it is studying Rae’s findings and intends to do more in the “coming days and weeks” Rae’s 17 recommendations include Canada increasing its funding, and consider playing a prominent role in initiating an investigation into potential war crimes, but stops short of wading into whether or not Canada should revoke Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary Canadian citizenship.

“I’m calling the situation as I see it,” Rae said, speaking to reporters in Ottawa about his new report. “It’s a very, very troubling tragic situation. It’s going to require a change of heart inside Myanmar to really make repatriation possible. It’s going to require a willingness to accept international presence, assistance… That’s going to take a lot of effort to make that happen. The situations in the camps are terrible.”

Minister of International Development and La Francophonie Marie-Claude Bibeau meets with the Rohingya activists in Kitchener to discuss the Rohingya project on March 20, 2018/Photo by Selina

Responding to the report, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Minister of International Development and La Francophonie Marie-Claude Bibeau issued a statement saying they welcome Rae’s work, and that it “reaffirms” the urgency of the crisis. The ministers said they will soon be outlining further measures the federal government will take.

“We can and must do more,” the ministers said. “That is why we will continue to engage at home and abroad over the coming days and weeks to register our deep concern about the crisis and to seek a path forward with the international community.”

Since August 2017, roughly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Buddhist-majority Rakhine state for refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh amid widespread violence that the United Nations has labelled “textbook ethnic cleansing.”

In October 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named Rae, a former Toronto MP and Ontario premier, as Canada’s special envoy to Myanmar to investigate the Rohingya’s plight.

Although initially barred from entering Rakhine state — the epicentre of the Rohingya humanitarian crisis — Rae travelled to the region in February where he was able “to see the extent of the destruction of the Rohingya villages.” He also visited refugee camps in Bangladesh. “Words cannot convey the extent of the humanitarian crisis people currently face in Bangladesh and Myanmar,” Rae wrote in Tuesday’s report.

“In addition to accounts of shooting and military violence, I also heard directly from women of sexual violence and abuse at the hands of the Myanmar military and of the death of children and the elderly on the way to the camps,” Rae told reporters he briefed members of Cabinet and Trudeau on his findings last week.

The Prime Minister welcomes the final report. “Today, I welcome the final report from the Special Envoy to Myanmar, Bob Rae. I appreciate Mr. Rae’s thorough work as Special Envoy and thank him for his invaluable insights, his professionalism, and his thoughtful recommendations,” Prime Minister said. “Canada is determined to help respond to this crisis. In the coming weeks, we will assess the recommendations in this report and outline further measures we intend to take.”

These are the main takeaways from Rae’s report:

Welcoming refugees

In his list of recommendations, Rae states that “Canada should signal a willingness to welcome refugees from the Rohingya community in both Bangladesh and Myanmar, and should encourage a discussion among like-minded countries to do the same.” Such resettlements, the report adds, should not be seen as a solution to the ongoing refugee crisis, nor should they diminish the Myanmar government’s duties to take responsibility for the violent exodus and aid hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in returning home.

Although Myanmar’s government has publicly expressed a willingness to resettle those who have fled the country, years of systematic violence at the hands of Myanmar’s security forces and Buddhist mobs means that such plans have been met with widespread scepticism by Rohingya refugees. Moreover, many Rohingya villages, Rae notes, have likely already been razed.

Economic sanctions

The report recommends that Canada and its allies implement “targeted economic sanctions” against individuals, organizations and companies that have broken international humanitarian laws “or other laws related to conflict, including breaches of the Rome Statute and the UN Convention on Genocide.”

“Canada should be actively working with like-minded countries to identify the individuals or parties that should be subject to such sanctions,” the report adds. “Canada should also continue its arms embargo and should seek a wider ban on the shipment of arms to Myanmar.”

Canada’s Myanmar arms embargo were first implemented in 2007. Speaking on CTV Power Play Tuesday evening, Rae also argued against broader economic sanctions. “Big-time economic sanctions only hurt the most vulnerable,” he said. “And … if you don’t have China, India, Thailand, neighbouring countries onside, you got nothing.”

Crimes against humanity

According to the report, there are “strong signals that crimes against humanity were committed in the forcible and violent displacement of more than 671,000 Rohingya from Rakhine State in Myanmar.” The alleged perpetrators, Rae’s report adds, include Myanmar’s military.

“Those who are responsible for breaches of international law, including crimes against humanity, should be brought to justice,” the report states. “This applies to all those involved, including state actors and non-state actors, armies, and individuals.” Evidence must be collected, Rae adds, though difficulties in prosecuting such crimes exist insofar as Myanmar is not a signatory to the treaty that established the International Criminal Court.

“But steps should be taken to encourage the International Criminal Court to consider an investigation on the issue of forcible deportation,” Rae writes. “The Government of Canada should be actively involved in funding these efforts and in continuing to apply targeted sanctions against those where credible evidence supports such measures.”

Increasing aid

Rae recommends that Canada “take a leadership role in responding to the current crisis by stepping up humanitarian and development efforts in Bangladesh and Myanmar.” In addition to humanitarian assistance and supporting infrastructure development, education should also be a priority, Rae states. In the report, he estimates the annual cost of such a commitment to be $150 million for the next four years.

The visiting Canadian Minister discusses with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh during her visit/Photo by the Sun

“A good chunk of it is going to go to the camp in Bangladesh,” Rae added while speaking on Power Play. Some of it, he said, should also help “people living in Myanmar in very tough and precarious situations.” “And some of it goes to us because we need to up our game in terms of our diplomatic representation,” he added. “I recommend that we should get a defence attaché there in Yangon able to engage with the government on the military side because it’s a two-headed government and right now we’re dealing only with the civilian side.”

To date, Canada has already earmarked more than $45 million in humanitarian aid to the troubled region. The need for humanitarian assistance is particularly urgent now, Rae’s report notes, as those who reside in Bangladesh’s sprawling and crowded refugee camps, are “at risk of death or serious illness as a result of flooding, landslides, and water-borne diseases expected to be brought by the upcoming monsoon season” that begins in May.

 

International advocacy

In his report, Rae states that Ottawa’s response to the crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh should be considered a “litmus test” for Canada’s foreign policy. He also suggests that the crisis is discussed during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in April as well as during the 2018 G7 summit that Canada will be hosting in May.

“Canada should urge like-minded countries to establish an International Working Group to ensure that, to the extent possible, policies, programs, and persuasion are exercised in a coordinated fashion,” he says in the report. “If we do things together, we can have more impact than if we do them alone,” Rae added on Power Play.

Rae said that Canada can lead by example — and that could start by earmarking more money for the Rohingya crisis. “That way you can go to… all the European countries, and go back to Indonesia, you can go to the wealthy Gulf States, who frankly haven’t done a lot in terms of money, and say, ‘This is what we’re doing and this is how we think you can help,’” he said.

Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar’s military

Rae notes that Myanmar’s civilian leader, honorary Canadian citizen and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, wields no control over the country’s vast military, which only recently loosened its hold on Myanmar after nearly 50 years of dictatorship. Myanmar’s military has often been cited as a main aggressor in the Rohingya humanitarian crisis.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets Aung San Suu Kyi in Ottawa during her visit to discuss democracy, human rights, and the protection of minorities in Myanmar. Photo from twitter

“(Former UN Secretary-Genera) Kofi Annan referred to there being ‘two governments’ in Myanmar—one military; one civilian,” Rae writes. “Canada needs to continue to engage with the Government of Myanmar, in both its civilian and military wings, and continue to do so in a way that expresses candidly its views about what has happened, and is still happening, and to insist that all activities of the Government of Myanmar, including military activities, must be carried out in conformity with international law.”

Speaking on Power Play, Rae declined to weigh in on the contentious issue of Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary Canadian citizenship, nor would he opine on whether or not the country’s civilian leader shares responsibility for the humanitarian crisis. “Until you have the evidence, you really don’t want to go around making political statements saying, ‘Well, we think she’s responsible,’ because we actually don’t have the evidence for that yet,” he said.

Read the full report here….

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The Black Panther: Your Reflections Matter

The Black Panther has made history at the box-office. Have you ever been so excited about a thing that in anticipation of that thing? If no, please go watch first and reflect on it how Ryan Cooglar and Joe Robert Cole introduced in a brilliant splash page that opens Black Panther. Secretary Everett K. Ross is a white CIA agent, who finds himself in over his head as liaison to Black Panther. Awkward, cowardly, and far too concerned with how others see him.

Black people have been given superheroes before.  Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Dr King, Malcolm X, Zora Neale Hurston, Muhammed Ali, Maya Angelou, Magic Johnson.  We’ve seen the strength of Black people in politics, sports, social movements, and perhaps most often in entertainment, but never like this before.

This is a story about  T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life. Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” is now playing in theatres.

I found balance. I loved T’Challa right away, but many people empathized with Ross’s struggle to navigate an entirely new world. Ross is capable but utterly unequipped for T’Challa and Wakanda.

Black Panther. (Posters: Marvel)

A white guy reflects on the Black Panther in his own way, “It is a movie about a superhero, but not just any superhero—a black superhero. And that’s what has me a bit perplexed. The movie was excellent, but it moved me emotionally in a way I wasn’t expecting. The plotline was inspiring, the acting was captivating, and the special effects were dope. But that’s not what got me.”

Different people express their own opinions but for me, the Black Panther was all it is worth. “I am learning more and more about the Black Panther Party every day, This job has really opened my eyes to the Civil Rights Movement; in school, I did not learn much about the Black Panthers,” said Raquel Booker. “I learned a little about Martin Luther King Jr., I heard about Malcolm X. This project has made me more interested in what was going on during that time and what people were going through: with fighting wars, boycotts, and sit-ins, so generations to come would not have to be put through the torment and pain they experienced.”

From the kick-butt African women guardians who led revolts and didn’t stand for an incompetent leader, to the hero that these black kids in the streets needed to look up to, to the representation of African characters, and the call in solidarity with brothers and sisters of this earth, Black Panther led the way for social reform.

It should be time for all of us to understand that there is nothing wrong with having diverse friends. Encourage each other to break social norms, show love to all your brothers and sisters, not just the ones that look like you. If you’re only looking through one lens, you are missing a lot of scenery.

Black Panther premiered in Los Angeles on January 29, 2018, and was released theatrically in the United States on February 16, 2018, in 2D, 3DIMAX and other premium large formats. It received critical acclaim, with praise directed toward its visuals, screenplay, characters, direction, costume design, action sequences, soundtrack, and performances. Critics considered it as one of the best films set in the MCU and noted its cultural significance. It has grossed over $462 million worldwide, and its four-day opening weekend gross of $242.1 million in the United States was the second-highest of all-time. Its three-day gross of $202 million was the fifth-highest of all-time and also set the record for the biggest debut by an African American director.

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Rohingya in Rathedaung need international attention

By Saifullah Muhammad,

Rathedaung is the administrative town of Rathedaung Township in the Arakan State, the westernmost part of Myanmar (Burma). It is 65 kilometres north of Sittwe, where 40 thousand Rohingyas lived in 24 villages till Aug. 25, 2017.

Since the beginning of the state-sponsored violence against the innocent,  and helpless Rohingya people in June 2012, at least 20 major casualties have been reported, while the unknown number of tragedy cases remains behind the silence.

Myanmar security force personnel stand guard while a mob (background) look on following unrest at an Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp for Muslim Rohingyas on the outskirts of Sittwe town in Rakhine State on August 9, 2013. Photo by AFP

It is true that most of the Rohingya villages are located in adjacent and in between Rakhine villages and model villages ( NaTaLa). According to some recorded documentation, on June 13, 2012, at least 35 Rohingya innocent people including children, women and elderly persons were brutally killed by the extremist Rakhine hooligans in collaboration with the Government forces. Meanwhile, 120 households were burnt to ashes in Zeekun Dan village (Kudichaung) and Karu Kun Tan village (Sera-prang).

On 19th June 2012, Anauk Pyin village was attacked and about 50 houses were burnt down. The villagers wanted to avoid the clash but 2 innocent Rohingyas were slaughtered before the eyes of the other villagers. As a result, a tense situation broke out and unavoidably, Rohingyas had to confront extremist Rakhine in order to defend their safer lives.

Later on, the Rohingya approached the authority for help but they consistently refused to protect them. On 20th June 2012, Military came to the village and carried out arbitrary arrests including women and children and bitterly tortured them. Mosques were destroyed, Holy Qurans were burnt down and women were harassed in the open sky.Among the Rohingya villagers, 185 were arrested, while 14 educated people forced out of the village issuing arbitrary warrants. Rohingyas were sent to Sittwe central prison without trial and reportedly in the half-dead situation. They have repeatedly tortured again in the jail where 4 of them had to face untimely deaths. In the same way, the village headman was severally beaten and tortured while his stomach was blown on the spot.

On the other hand, the arrogant Rakhine and Burmese military authority looted all the belongings of Rohingya and did not even leave a match to put fire or a needle to sew torn cloths. Consequently, the Rohingya villagers met with severe hardship for their survival in all circumstances, even to cook food. Finally, the entire Rohingya villagers used an oven to cook foods in unavoidable circumstances. It is believed that other 24 Rohingya villages in Rathedaung would have been burnt down one after another had the villagers failed to properly defend the Rakhine extremists’ attacks.

Currently, innocent children, teenage girls, women, elderly persons and every individual Rohingyas are passing lives with fears and tears as the military personnel or other authority raid villages and simply arrest innocent people and loot their properties. Meanwhile, the aforesaid forces treat the Rohingya as animals with the open rape of teenage females in front of their beloved family members and harass the others. Thus the teenage girls need to pretend like old women putting lime on their hair as usual.

On Sept. 27, 2012, a village Pin Chaw (Fraingchong) was also attacked by Rakhine from different parts of Arakan State. All the villagers fled to a Rohingya village called Chilkhali to escape mass killings leaving behind all their properties. They dared not confront the government forces and the Rakhine terrorists seeing the situation of Anuk Pin village, Then the extremist Rakhines burnt down all the houses and uprooted everything including plants and animals were also not left.

It is unbelievable to everyone that the existence of Rohingya villages in the surrounding of Rathidaung was brutally demolished.

On 25th October 2012, the village Yung Pin Gyi (Muzair) was attacked by Rakhine with the help of Military in the second round of violence occurred in whole Arakan State. Hundreds of them were killed, tortured raped and jailed but the other remaining villagers did not leave the village. It is very pity to say that their village is situated inside most of the Rakhine villages.

“We want peace and harmony and have never tried to clash with Rakhines. We always respect the law and orders of the Government but why we have been attacked and made isolated, we do not know.” – A Rohingya elder
Currently, the Rohingya dare not come out from the village. Their livelihoods and survival have become extremely hard as they can’t go for fishing, firewood collection, farming and etc. The Rohingyas in the villages of Anauk-Pyin and Muzair have been besieged and economically crippled by the majority Rakhine extremists. As a result, the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) has been extending minimum food rations to the starving people on monthly basis. Enroute to the Rohingya villages, the WFP often faces unexpected troubles and challenges in the hands of both arrogant Rakhines and the military forces. In one state, the arrogant Rakhines blocked the canal road as a whole by building unnecessary fence and bridge.

Based on the situation, the UN’s WFP is compelled to approach to the Rakhine community with a request to remove bridge blocking in order to have access. However, the Rakhines gave a cruel response to the agency that they would not do it because it cost them money. When WFP and some Rohingya elders in other regions said that they would compensate the Rakhines a triple amount, they have ignored the request.

Therefore, the WFP officials extended the same request to the Township Administrative Officials and the Border Guard Police Commander of the region to have access but they also simply ignored.

“Now, the vulnerable and besieged Rohingyas in the villages are going to face extreme poverty with constantan starvation as they have no livelihoods, no opportunity for self-employment and are rendered literally jobless,” said a village elder. “When the inquiry commission was sent, there was no one to talk to them in Anauk Pyin village as all the educated people have been either put on the wanted list or arbitrarily jailed. Leaving behind the fear of getting killed, someone from us talked to the inquiry commission and explained what was actually happened against us. Then the commission consoled us and came to know the reality observing the circumstances of the village.”

Similarly in Muzair, on 1st November 2012, the inquiry commission came together with a Military commander in chief Hla Myint and Ko Ko Naing. And on the following day (i.e. 2nd November 2012) commander in Chief Than Thet reached there by helicopter and interviewed some of the Rohingyas. They also explained the truth and the commission also reported the reality as it happened for the first time in the history.

Some Rohingya elders of Rathedaung from outside tried their best for the release of the innocent people jailed for 10 years and 15 years respectively without any guilty. After so many difficulties, 120 Rohingyas from Anauk Pyin village and 12 from Sera-prang were released and jail-terms were shortened for the remaining people with the cooperation of some lawyers.

The Common Rohingya residents of Rathedaung say “we want peace and harmony and have never tried to clash with Rakhines. We always respect the law and orders of the Government but why we have been attacked and made isolated, we do not know.”

In achieving “peace and harmonious atmosphere,” the Rohingya people of Rathedaung from exile are also trying to help those who are still languishing in the dire situation in the country as they are deprived of their basic needs, even to have grassroots development through all possible means of education. They are facing unexpected challenges in their daily lives as they don’t have little educated and wealthy people who could be able to assist them in the fields of socio-cultural activities, health and sanitation to motivate them by lobbying with the Government.

Saifullah Muhammad is a student of journalism in Canada and a Rohingya activist. He can be reached at saifulrohin@yahoo.com

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A new World with digital interface

You need to know five interesting things happening right now in the world. Do you know the world’s biggest bank, with no actual currencies? Have you ever noticed the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content? Have you ever heard of the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles? Did you ever see the world’s most valuable retailer, has no inventory? And do you believe the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate?

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system. It is the first decentralized digital currency, as the system works without a central bank or single administrator. The network is peer-to-peer and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary. These transactions are verified by network nodes through the use of cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoin was invented by an unknown person or group of people under the name Satoshi Nakamoto and released as open-source software in 2009.

Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services. As of February 2015, over 100,000 merchants and vendors accepted bitcoin as payment. Research produced by the University of Cambridge estimates that in 2017, there are 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.

Because of bitcoin’s decentralized nature, nation-states cannot shut down the network or alter its technical rules. However, the use of bitcoin can be criminalized and be shutting down exchanges and the peer-to-peer economy in a given country would constitute a “de facto ban”. The legal status of bitcoin varies substantially from country to country and is still undefined or changing in many of them. While some countries have explicitly allowed its use and trade, others have banned or restricted it. Regulations and bans that apply to bitcoin probably extend to similar cryptocurrency systems.

Bitcoin. Photo by financialtribune

The word bitcoin first occurred and was defined in the white paper that was published on 31 October 2008. It is a compound of the words bit and coin. The white paper frequently uses the shorter coinThere is no uniform convention for bitcoin capitalization. Some sources use Bitcoin, capitalized, to refer to the technology and network and bitcoin, lowercase, to refer to the unit of account. The Wall Street JournalThe Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Oxford English Dictionary advocate use of lowercase bitcoin in all cases, a convention followed throughout this article.

The use of bitcoin by criminals has attracted the attention of financial regulators, legislative bodies, law enforcement, and the media. The FBI prepared an intelligence assessment, the SEC has issued a pointed warning about investment schemes using virtual currencies, and the US Senate held a hearing on virtual currencies in November 2013.

Several news outlets have asserted that the popularity of bitcoins hinges on the ability to use them to purchase illegal goods. In 2014, researchers at the University of Kentucky found “robust evidence that computer programming enthusiasts and illegal activity drive interest in bitcoin, and find limited or no support for political and investment motives.

Facebook

The world’s most popular media company, Facebook, creates no content. So Facebook goes into news, Twitter into television and so on. And because they can be so profitable we will see more and more challenger interfaces, each trying to find some way to get their icon on to your mobile phone or iPad.

Facebook has more than 2 billion monthly active users as of June 2017. Its popularity has led to prominent media coverage for the company, including significant scrutiny over privacy and the psychological effects it has on users. In recent years, the company has faced intense pressure over the amount of fake newshate speech and violence prevalent on its services, all of which it is attempting to counteract.

In February 2015, Facebook announced that it had reached two million active advertisers with most of the gain coming from small businesses. An active advertiser is an advertiser that has advertised on the Facebook platform in the last 28 days. In March 2016, Facebook announced that it reached three million active advertisers with more than 70% from outside the US. 

Uber

The world’s largest taxi firm, Uber, owns no cars. It is a global taxi technology company headquartered in San FranciscoCalifornia, United States, operating in 633 cities worldwide. It develops, markets and operates the Uber car transportation and food delivery mobile apps. Uber drivers use their own cars although drivers can rent a car to drive with Uber.

Uber offers various service levels. Not all service levels are available in every city. UberPOOL is the least expensive level of service, in which the customer may share the ride with another passenger going in the same general direction. UberX (marketed as UberPOP in some European cities) is a level of service in which the rider will get a private ride. Other levels of service provide for a black luxury car, larger car, car with a car seat, SUV, wheelchair accessible transport, and pet transport.

Alibaba

The world’s most valuable retailer, Alibaba, carries no stock. Alibaba is a Chinese multinational e-commerceretailInternetAI and technology conglomerate founded in 1999 that provides consumer-to-consumerbusiness-to-consumer and business-to-business sales services via web portals, as well as electronic payment services, shopping search engines and data-centric cloud computing services. It owns and operates a diverse array of businesses around the world in numerous sectors, and is named as one of the world’s most admired companies by Fortune.

In December 1999, Jack Ma and 17 other founders released their first online marketplace, named “Alibaba Online”. From 1999 to 2000, Alibaba Group raised a total of US$25 Million from SoftBank, Goldman Sachs, Fidelity and some other institutions. In December 2001, Alibaba.com achieved profitability. In May 2003, Taobao was founded as a consumer e-commerce platform. In December 2004, Alipay, which started as a service on the Taobao platform, became a separate business. In October 2005, Alibaba Group took over the operation of China Yahoo! as part of its strategic partnership with Yahoo! Inc.

Airbnb

Finally, the world’s largest accommodation provider, Airbnb, owns no property. Something big is going on. Airbnb is an American company which hosts an online marketplace and hospitality service, for people to lease or rent short-term lodging including vacation rentalsapartment rentals, homestayshostel beds, or hotel rooms. The company does not own any lodging; it is a broker which receives percentage service fees from both guests and hosts in conjunction with every booking. In January 2018 the company had over 3,000,000 lodging listings in 65,000 cities and 191 countries.

Shortly after moving to San Francisco in October 2007, roommates and former schoolmates Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia could not afford the rent for their loft apartment. Chesky and Gebbia came up with the idea of putting an air mattress in their living room and turning it into a bed and breakfast. The goal at first was just “to make a few bucks”.[53][54] In February 2008, Nathan Blecharczyk, Chesky’s former roommate, joined as the Chief Technology Officer and the third co-founder of the new venture, called AirBed & Breakfast. This is also where the name “Airbnb” originates from. They put together a website which offered short-term living quarters, breakfast, and a unique business networking opportunity for those who were unable to book a hotel in the saturated market.[56] The site Airbedandbreakfast.com officially launched on August 11, 2008. The founders had their first customers in town in the summer of 2008, during the Industrial Design Conference held by Industrial Designers Society of America, where travelers had a hard time finding lodging in the city.

To help fund the site, the founders created special edition breakfast cereals, with presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain as the inspiration for “Obama O’s” and “Cap’n McCains”. In two months, 800 boxes of cereal were sold at $40 each, which generated more than $30,000 for the company’s incubation. It also got the company noticed by computer programmer Paul Graham, who invited the founders to the January 2009 winter training session of his startup incubator, Y Combinator, which provided them with training and $20,000 in funding in exchange for a small interest in the company. With the website already built, they used the $20,000 Y-Combinator investment to fly to New York City to meet users and promote the site. They returned to San Francisco with a profitable business model to present to West Coast investors. By March 2009, the site had 10,000 users and 2,500 listings.

In March 2017, Airbnb raised US$1 billion in additional funding, bringing their total funding raised to date to more than US$3 billion and valuing the company at US$31 billion.

The World economy are within the reach of a global mind, that understand strategic virtual operations. Mastering the revolution can only be built by innovative digital operators.