Farewell Amandla!

CKUT's flagship show celebrates its retirement from the airwaves after 36 years.

On the air since 1987, Amandla is a weekly African current affairs program founded in response to racist and misleading mainstream media coverage of apartheid Southern Africa– or it WAS, until November 15, 2023.

Amandla was a bilingual weekly current affairs program that aimed to present an anti-colonial analysis on the continent of Africa. Over the years, the team expanded the show’s mandate to cover the entire continent, to take stories past the headlines of the mainstream media to show the complexity, creativity, courage and vision of Africans as they confront their colonial past and neo-colonial present. Collaborators have included Samaa Elibyari, Mouloud Idir, Roberto Nieto, Zahra Moloo and Sophie Toupin.

Amandla has been with CKUT since almost the very beginning and has consistently been some of our best programming. While we’re sad to see them go, we’re excited to see what Gwen, Doug, and the rest of the team get up to now, and we’re excited to find new ways to collaborate.

See below for Doug’s farewell statement, Gwen’s personal note, and Amandla’s statement of solidarity with Palestine.

Doug’s Farewell

November 15, 2023

Doug’s last broadcast

Good evening friends and comrades, listeners all. I am wishing you good bye. This is my last regular broadcast with Amandla. I am retiring from weekly radio in order to marshal my energies for a number of other projects. Some are activist projects, the history of the anti-apartheid movement in Canada being one of those, and others are more mundanely related to the process of aging and care-giving for loved ones and friends.

I want to thank you all for the years of support for our work at Amandla. The many good people with whom we worked, have become dear friends over the period since late 1997 (it may have been 1996, I’m not sure) when I stepped into the CKUT on-air studio for the first time, twenty-six years ago. Your participation, contributions, analysis and insights have kept my political heart alive, sharp and stimulated.

I especially appreciate the many dedicated staffers who have kept CKUT broadcasting and providing the airtime for programmes like Amandla! Radio. It is clear that the main-stream media, or as my brother calls it, “the lamestream media” would never allow views of dissent such as ours to be aired elsewhere.

I give a shout-out to Gwen Schulman who has kept the faith since founding Amandla! Radio back in 1987 or thereabouts. The reasons I respect and appreciate you are too numerous to try to enumerate. I am not abandoning you, and will continue to support you and your work to the extent I am able. Our mutual respect and love remains strong. Thank you Gwen for everything.

And to the listeners, thank you for your years of solidarity. I do not intend to lose my connection to Amandla! Radio nor with CKUT. They are invaluable allies in the fight to produce a narrative that counters the imperial war propaganda that overwhelm us today. Old struggles remain alive in updated forms. Those links of solidarity, we have built over the years are the life blood of resistance. Community Radio and the newer forms of podcasts and alternative media are arising and debunking the dominant narrative of our ruling classes. Voices of dissent are denouncing NATO imperialism in the Ukraine, Palestine and against its war drums beating against Cuba, Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, and many more. Critical masses in the streets, an effective sharing of real news and analysis and constant challenging of racist and warrior narratives are the tools for change that will bring peace and development to the people of this world. Get out there and make some noise.

With these last words I say “Kwaheri sasa” goodbye for now. Best wishes to you all. Good night.

I’m Doug Miller from Amandla! Radio here at CKUT 90.3 FM Montreal.

Gwen’s personal statement

“… we shall not rest until the chains that enslave all people be broken.”
By Gwen Schulman
November 2023

In the three decades of doing this show, I have rarely if ever brought up anything about my personal life. But tonight, in the context of the extreme situation playing itself out in Palestine, I feel compelled to bring in a deeply personal perspective.

I was not brought up in a religious household, but I was raised in the Jewish tradition. A tradition that calls on Jews and all peoples to strive for a just world, one in which there is no freedom until all are free. This is the essential message of Pesah, or Passover, and each year, we would read, and still read, from the book of Passover, the Haggadah, the story of the Exodus, of the liberation of Jews from slavery. As a tiny kid, it fired up a passion in me for justice, freedom and solidarity, and I know with every ounce of my being that it ultimately put me in this host’s chair, in this studio at CKUT for over three decades, producing radio that unequivocally sided with the oppressed in a spirit of solidarity and freedom.

I am going to read two brief passages in the Haggadah. At the very opening, it says: “On this night, long years ago, the Jews harkened to the call of freedom. Tonight, that call rings out again, sounding its glorious challenge, commanding us to champion the cause of all the oppressed and the downtrodden, summoning all the peoples throughout the world to arise and be free. … Let us pray that the time be not distant when all of the world will be liberated from cruelty, tyranny, oppression and war.

“Peoples have suffered, nations have struggled to make the dream of freedom come true. Now we dedicate ourselves to the struggle for freedom. Though the sacrifice be great and the hardships many, we shall not rest until the chains that enslave all people be broken.”

This is the voice, wisdom and vision of the ancients, with a message as clear and urgent as ever, one that calls on all of us to relentlessly struggle for freedom of all peoples. It guides me and it guides many, and let us not be thrown off by propaganda that seeks to divide us, that seeks to put up a wall between Jews and Palestinians. This was not the vision of the ancients, and we cannot let it be the vision today. It is only through solidarity that we can all be free.

Amandla’s statement of solidarity with Palestine

Amandla! Radio denounces Israeli apartheid and supports the freedom struggle of the Palestinian people.

Amandla! Radio was founded during the freedom struggle against apartheid, imperialism, settler colonialism and in support of a free and independent panAfrican continent. The imperialist domination of colonial Africa was—and is—based on racist theories of superiority enforced by brute force and has cost millions of African lives.

On November 6, 2023, South Africa withdrew all its remaining diplomats from its Embassy in Israel and is threatening to expel the Israeli ambassador to South Africa, and I quote: “whose position has been described by Pretoria as “untenable”, over his aggressive stance in defence of apartheid policies being imposed by the Zionist state…” The South African President’s office issued a statement declaring that, quote: “the government was “disappointed” by the “impunity” of the Israeli government and its “refusal” to respect international law and United Nations resolutions.” “A genocide under the watch of the international community cannot be tolerated. Another holocaust in the history of humankind is not acceptable.”

Since its founding, Western imperial interests have manipulated the story of Israel and Palestine to justify Israeli occupation of territory seized from already established communities. In reality, Israel is a Western imperial project and the current authoritarian, right-wing regime controlling power and fomenting racial hatred in Palestine/Israel is fully backed by Western imperialism’s flotillas of warships and weaponry.

The tragic irony of 2023 is that it is the 85th anniversary of Krystal Nacht and the Nazi state’s drive for a final solution to its Jewish population and it is the 75th anniversary of the Nakba which marks the beginning of the dispossession of the Palestinian people from their homeland. The genocide we are witnessing in Gaza and the West Bank in November 2023, reflects Israel’s commitment to the total elimination of the Palestinian people.

One injustice does not justify another. “Never again” was the refrain after the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps and death chambers. “Not In my Name” is the protest of Jewish opponents of Israel’s state sanctioned genocide of the Palestinian people. From its inception progressive Jews have denounced the colonial nature of Israel. Jewish faith leaders, following the precepts of their own historic liberation from slavery in Egypt, swore to ensure the right of all people to live free of oppression.

African nations along with the majority of the United Nations in countless resolutions have consistently denounced the injustices perpetrated by Israel in its illegal occupation of Palestinian land. They know the evils of colonialism first hand and denounce it despite enormous pressure from the imperial powers which promote Israel’s interests and defend its terrorist attacks on the Palestinian people.

We condemn attacks on civilian populations whoever they are. We defend the right of the Palestinian people to live free in their homeland. We denounce Israel’s apartheid policies that have restricted Palestinians to prison conditions throughout their territory as they watch imported settler populations take over their homes and their land. We defend the right of the Palestinian people to resist the terror visited upon them.

The most immediate need is to end Israel’s genocidal attacks on the populations of the Gaza and the West Bank. We join with the Independent Jewish Voices and the Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East in calling for:

  • an immediate ceasefire of all hostilities in Israel-Palestine, and
  • an end to the blockade of Gaza and for the restoration of humanitarian aid and access to the basic necessities of life.

Beyond these immediate steps, the world must support efforts for a just and lasting peace in Israel-Palestine and address the root cause of the violence: Israel’s decades-long occupation of Palestinian territory.

Canada abstained from an emergency resolution at the UN General Assembly for a ceasefire, backed by 120 countries. We demand an immediate reversal of this position. Since 2011, Canada has voted “NO” to at least 149 UN resolutions, making it Israel’s biggest backer after the United States.

Palestinians, Israelis, and all people in the region deserve to live in peace and security and with justice for all.

We therefore call for:

A reversal of Canada’s historic complicity in Israeli crimes against the Palestinians, and for Canada to stand in solidarity with Palestinians and to staunchly advocate for the end of Israeli apartheid;

  • Canada to accept the right of the Palestinian people to resist the colonial occupation of their country;
  • Canada to withdraw all military, diplomatic and moral support for the Israeli regime’s illegal occupation and war crimes;
  • Canada to work towards a full and comprehensive peace treaty with the Palestinian people as full and equal partners in the negotiations.

Amandla! Ngawethu.