“The Sound of Conference”

March 19, 2019

Diplomats and experts gathered at the 2019 diplomatic workshop in Annecy, France, may not have agreed on everything concerning the upcoming preparatory committee meeting of the 2020 NPT Review Conference, but they all shared one common affinity: that of parodic song.

Led by former US negotiator Tom Countryman, several participants—including VCDNP Executive Director Laura Rockwood—joined in a light-hearted parody of Simon & Garfunkel’s classic “Sound of Silence,” adapted to reflect NPT watchers’ continued concerns heading into the 2019 NPT PrepCom. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics, penned by Mr. Countryman, drew welcomed laughs from the workshop participants, who had gathered for the annual Annecy retreat under the auspices of CNS’s International Organizations and Nonproliferation Program. They began with a shout-out to CNS Founding Director, Dr. William Potter:

Lyrics by Tom Countryman

Hello, William, my old friend
We’ve come to talk with you again
Because conditions still prevent us
From ever reaching a consensus
And the question that was burning in our brains
Still remains
How do we save the conference?

I remember in years past
How we failed to bridge the gap
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing papers that no one ever reads
And still we need
To somehow save the conference

And in the crimson light I saw
Ten thousand missiles, maybe more
And their owners all asserted
They’d been safely de-alerted
And the world asked us to explain
It’s insane In a rules-based order

And so on mission we’ve been sent
To create an environment
And while many share the blame
We never mention real names
You can call a cat a dog, but you’ll never fool a mouse
Not in this house
Not at our Review Conference

Comments Are Closed