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Kissinger Is Not the Solution

After my grandmother's death, we discovered this poem. It's strikingly relevant today.

Words: Allegra Harpootlian
Pictures: Kelly Sikkema

Betty Flaks was not a national security expert. She was a wife, a mother, my grandmother, and unbeknownst to us, a poet whose insights could have changed the world. A month ago, she passed away, leaving my mother to sort through a lifetime’s worth of clothes, photographs, and let’s be honest, junk. We expected that, but what we didn’t expect to find was a bursting-at-the-brim steno pad filled with knowledge she never knew how to dispense.

As a stay-at-home mom in the 50s, my grandmother’s job was to support, nurture, and take care of her husband and her kids. Back then, women’s opinions were not solicited (one of her poems was aptly titled Confessions of a ‘Dumb Dora’), so she kept them safely tucked away.

In the 1970s when the world was locked in a crisis strikingly similar to the one we see ourselves in today with North Korea, she realized the people with the loudest voices may not be saying all that much. The words below, while not written recently, or even this decade, still ring true and are just as important as they were on the day she wrote them — whether she realized that or not.

Kissinger Is Not the Solution

Disarmament talks are boring,
And they’ll never, ever work,
For who’s to know, behind each mountain,
If some evil there does lurk.

Strikes for peace are useless;
Riots even make things worse;
Books and speeches do no good;
And warriors simply won’t converse.

But wars would end tomorrow,
If countries, every one,
Would appoint to head their armies,
Cowardly mothers with only one son.

betty & marvin flaks inkstick media

Allegra Harpootlian is a Media Associate with ReThink Media. You can find her @ally_harp on Twitter.

Allegra Harpootlian

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