“We Shall Overcome” by Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters

Our fourth song is “We Shall Overcome” by Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters. The song was from his album “The Wall”. He performed the entire album in his Wall Live Tour (2010) that was estimated to have cost seven million and Waters stated that it most probably would be his last saying “I am not as young as I used to be”.

The video of the song features images from Gaza and Palestine and it detonates the the fact that Gaza is the world’s most humungous virtual prison.

In a statement Waters issued through his face book group, he explained why he felt compelled to record a new version of “We Shall Overcome”. He said,

“Over the new year 2009-2010, an international group of 1500 men and women from 42 nations went to Egypt to join a Freedom March to Gaza. They did this to protest the current blockade of Gaza. To protest the fact that the people of Gaza live in a virtual prison. To protest the fact that a year after the terror attack by Israeli armed forces destroyed most of their homes, hospitals, schools, and other public buildings, they have no possibility to rebuild because their borders are closed. The would be Freedom Marchers wanted to peacefully draw attention to the predicament of the Palestinian population of Gaza. The Egyptian government, (funded to the tune of $2.1 billion a year, by us, the US taxpayers), would not allow the marchers to approach Gaza. How lame is that? And how predictable! I live in the USA and during this time Dec 25 2009 – Jan 3 2010 I saw no reference to Gaza or the Freedom March or the multinational protesters gathered there. Anyway I was moved, in the circumstances, to record a new version of “We Shall Overcome”. It seems appropriate”.

It was a bold statement coming from the rock legend that definitely got him a lot of attention worldwide. Many claimed that he was just a falling star trying to make himself famous again, guess we will never know!

It is an amazing song though and a good initiative that many others refused to adopt. In reply to those claims though, it is not the first time the rock star gets active politically.

After the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and subsequent tsunami disaster, waters performed “Wish You Were Here” with Eric Clapton during a benefit concert on the American network NBC.

He was out spoken against the Hunting Act of 2004 and performed a concert for, and attended marches supporting the Countryside Alliance. To put it in his own words,

“I’ve become disenchanted with the political and philosophical atmosphere in England. The anti-hunting bill was enough for me to leave England. I did what I could, I did a concert and one or two articles, but it made me feel ashamed to be English. I was in Hyde Park for both the Countryside Alliance marches. There were hundreds of thousands of us there. Good, honest English people. That is one of the most divisive pieces of legislation we have ever had in Great Britain. It’s not a case of whether or not I agree with fox hunting, but I will defend to the hilt their right to take part in it”.

In July 2007, he played on the American Leg of the “Live Earth” concert aimed at raising awareness about global climate change.

In 2007, Waters became a spokesperson for Millennium Promise, a non-profit organization that helps fight extreme poverty and malaria. He wrote an opinion piece for CNN in support of the topic.

Waters has been outspoken about Middle Eastern politics and in June 2009, he openly opposed the Israeli Separation Barrier, calling it an “obscenity” that “should be torn down”. 

In December 2009, Waters pledged his support to the Gaza Freedom March. 

March 2011, he announced that he had joined the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

 BDS is a campaign first initiated on 9 July 2005 by 171 Palestinian non-governmental organizations in support of the Palestinian cause. It simply calls for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with the International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights.

The three stated goals of the campaign are:

  1. An end to Israel’s “Occupation and Colonization of Arab Lands” as well as “Dismantling the Wall”.
  2. Israel’s recognition of the “Fundamental Rights of the Arab Palestinian Citizens of Israel to Full Equality”.
  3. Israel’s respect, protection, and promotion of the “Rights of Palestinian Refugees to Return to their Homes and Properties” as stipulated in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194.

 

In a promotional video for BDS Bob Dylan sang the following song celebrating the Arab Revolution and urging people to contribute to BDS.  

 

Oh, the schools will divest,
and the corps will pull out,
and the bands will refuse to be playin.

Like a choir of boats,
with justice in our throats.
The power of BDS.

And the states will shun,
and the peace will come.
And the Gaza Port will be opened.
Find peace in full swing.
Join the Arab Spring.
The power of BDS!

 

Bob Dylan

 

In the end, this is what Waters told David Fricke, why he thinks an album like the “The Wall” is relevant today more than ever

“The loss of a father is the central prop on which [The Wall] stands. As the years go by, children lose their fathers again and again, for nothing. You see it now with all these fathers, good men and true, who lost their lives and limbs in Iraq for no reason at all. I have done “Bring the Boys Back Home” in my encore on recent tours. It feels more relevant and poignant to be singing that song now than it did in 1979”.

In the end, these are the lyrics of “We Shall Overcome”:

 

We shall overcome.
We shall overcome
.
We shall overcome some day
.
Deep in my heart

I do believe
.
That we shall overcome

Someday.

And we’ll walk hand in hand,
we’ll walk hand in hand,
we’ll walk hand in hand one day.
Deep in my heart,
I do believe.
That we will walk hand in hand,
One day.

And we’ll break down the prison walls.
We will tear down those prison walls.
Together we will tear down the prison walls on that day.
Deep in my heart,
I do believe.
That we will tear down all those prison walls,
on that day.

Deep in my heart,
I do believe.
That we will tear down those prison walls,
on that day.

And the truth will set us free,
The truth will set us free,
The truth will set us all free,
On that day.

And, deep in my heart,
I do believe.
That the truth will set us all free.
And we shall overcome,
On that day.

 


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