We Shall Overcome!

by Maha Al Aswad

I always get inspired by the the U.S. civil rights movement.. many lessons to learn.

I listened to this podcast of Lyndon Baines Johnson, former U.S. president, addressing the congress on the Voting Legislation. His speech marked the victory of the movement which is considered a corner stone in the U.S. history.

Deep in my heart I truly believe that women of my country will stand up for their rights and end discrimination and sexism one day. Not for the widely used and universally recognized and mainstreamed expression “Women’s Rights”, but for humanity; for HUMAN RIGHTS; for the inherent basic right of Equality for all humans.

Egyptian women are not allowed to hold Judicial positions in the State Council.

Egyptian women are not allowed to be appointed as public prosecutors.

Egyptian women are not allowed to have divorce without the consent of the spouse unless they go through complicated and biased judicial proceedings OR give up voluntarily their financial rights.

Egyptian women face sexual harassment in public places, which prevent them from participating in the public sphere fully and properly in the absence of a law that enables them from filing cases and punish harassers.

Egyptian women especially in the south can’t get their share of the family inheritance because of absence of the rule of law and the control of old-fashioned unjust traditions in a male-dominated society.

Egyptian women suffer from honor killings with almost 100% chance for perpetrators to go unpunished because of loopholes in the law and the consent of male judges with a patriarchal mentality.

So many aspects of institutional, social and political discrimination that I feel just sick and tired of counting.

All I can think of is the famous Peter Seeger song ” We Shall Overcome” which was considered the anthem of the civil movement campaign in the U.S. some 50 years ago.. Here it is with the beautiful Joan Baez cover.. Just felt that it is closer and deeper from her..

Egyptian women.. We Shall Overcome!