In Case You’ve Ever Wondered How It Is Done: Censorship by Purse String

An Invitation to speak at the 50th Anniversary for the Center for Education of Women at the University of Michigan has been withdrawn

I’m saddened to write this because I’m a proponent of free speech and have been brought up to allow everyone to have their say. But I also realize that there are other considerations that institutions are faced with. This afternoon I was contacted by the University of Michigan instructing me to withdraw their invitation due to the removal of funding from the donors, because of their interpretation of Ms. Walker’s comments regarding Israel. They are not willing to fund this program and the university/Women’s center do not have the resources to finance this on their own. They are deeply regretful but I wanted to let you know immediately either way. I hope you can appreciate the fact that I’m uncomfortable even having to send this email in the first place. Hopefully we can work together again down the road. Thanks for understanding. I wish things had turned out differently.

I so appreciate the tone of the agent’s letter, alerting my assistant and me to this situation. It isn’t hard to imagine how he feels, having been so enthusiastic about getting me to come to help the women celebrate a major milestone in their many struggles for education and equality. But there is a bright side: Such behavior, as evidenced by the donors, teaches us our weakness, which should eventually (and soon) show us our strength: women must be in control of our own finances. Not just in the family, but in the schools, work force, and everywhere else. Until we control this part of our lives, our very choices, in any and every area, can be denied us.

I am bone weary of travel, after over half a century of doing it, so I dont regret not getting on another plane and being x-rayed coming and going, and occasionally being patted down as if I’m hiding something under my blouse, but I am sorry to miss this joyful sounding gathering of women (and men) who are without doubt some of the best our country has to offer.

If you should read this, people of the invitation, know I send you my love, and my understanding, without reservation. I thought you were brave to invite me, and I cherish you for that. Whatever the truth is, that is what will always be. That is why Gandhi said Truth is God. It cannot be hidden forever, nor can it be kept from even the smallest child, indefinitely.

Alice Walker

Recommended:  John Pilger’s 2002 film (on YouTube) PALESTINE IS STILL THE ISSUE