Sooo let me try to get this straight..
Alice Walker’s agent gets the story from a source at U Mich: donors withdrawing funds because of “their interpretation” of her comments on Israel. U Mich can’t cover cost.
Alice posts this on her blog and writes a gracious reply. Gloria Thomas posts an “apology” on the CEW site–Ms W is “not the optimum choice for the celebratory nature” of the event. $$ not an issue. Free speech not an issue.
This is utterly unconvincing not to mention insulting beyond belief. Who, given her background and brilliant accomplishments, could be a more perfect, a more inspiring choice, given the alleged aims and values of the CEW? Not “celebratory” enough? Is Ms Walker perhaps incapable of being festive, a real downer to be around? I think not. Perhaps the praise of her late beloved teacher and friend Howard Zinn may be of help: beyond Spelman, Sarah Lawrence, literary career, he said, she has “never wavered a second from her powerful commitment to racial, economic, and world justice.” Aha. The world would include not only Montgomery but also Gaza. Oops. But this is was hardly a secret. Ms. Thomas may enlighten us some day. In the meantime, Martha Pollack, in the traditional Provost’s role of prevaricator-in-chief , backs and blames Ms Thomas, insists on the university’s commitment to freedom of speech, and in a further statement says she’s “pleased to report” that CEW and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies plan to invite Ms Walker to speak in a public forum. Now it’s all over the web that Alice Walker has been “reinvited.” But this is not true. She has not been reinvited to participate in the the CEW anniversary celebration. An invitation to such a forum would certainly be appropriate in and of itself, but in the context of this shameful affair she has been not only insulted but ghettoized. A woman of color who denounces settler colonialism, illegal occupation, and crimes against humanity wherever they occur and whoever the perpetrators are, she is being “placed carefully”–as a good friend whose moral compass never wavers puts it,”in the African-American box before being allowed to open her mouth on campus.”