|When:||Wednesday 15 June 2011
|What:||In Pursuit of Cultural Freedom event|
About this Event
This event has been canceled. Please see below for statement from Patrick Lannan.
When I began as a journalist, there was something called ‘slow news’. We would refer to ‘slow news days’ (usually Sunday) when ‘nothing happened’—apart, that is, from triumphs and tragedies in faraway places where most of humanity lived. The triumphs, the painstaking gains of people yearning to be free, were rarely acknowledged. The tragedies were dismissed as acts of nature, regardless of evidence to the contrary. Our terms of reference were those of great power, such as ‘our’ governments and ‘our’ institutions. The ‘view from the ground’ had value only if it reinforced that from on high. Whole societies were described and measured by their relationship with ‘us’: their usefulness to ‘our interests’ and their degree of compliance with (or hostility to) our authority. Above all, they were not ‘us’.
- From Freedom Next Time.
14 June 2011
Statement by Patrick Lannan
President, Lannan Foundation
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
The cancelation of a Foundation-sponsored event featuring the journalist John Pilger was not based on censorship. Mr. Pilger was to speak Wednesday 15 June at the 820-seat Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe followed by a conversation with the journalist David Barsamian as part of the Foundation’s Readings & Conversations series. Last week we learned from The Lensic that only 152 tickets had been sold, despite extensive full-page advertising. It became apparent to us that the Lensic event was not viable. In our opinion, to have Mr. Pilger travel thousands of miles from London to Santa Fe to face such a low turnout would have been embarrassing to him.
At the request of Mr. Pilger, the Foundation also had agreed to pay for a community outreach screening of his film The War You Don’t See, an event the Foundation considered secondary to Mr. Pilger’s Readings & Conversations appearance. The Foundation rented a local theater venue, The Screen. We advertised the film, and ticket proceeds were to have been donated back to the theater. Mr. Pilger was to have introduced the film and answered questions from the audience after the screening. The cancelation of the Lensic event clearly necessitated that the screening be canceled.
Both Mr. Pilger and Mr. Barsamian were paid their honoraria for their engagements, and both The Lensic and The Screen were compensated for venue rental fees.
The Foundation regrets that the reason for the cancelation was not explained to Mr. Pilger or to the public at the time the decision was made.
Lannan Foundation’s record of supporting outspoken writers and social justice activists speaks for itself. Upcoming speakers for our public events include Richard Wolff, Tariq Ali, and Norman Finkelstein.
The Foundation will have no further comment on this issue.