Warning: The following content contains sensitive material about suicide. I used to believe that empathy was the key to unity without understanding what it meant. So in my sophomore spring I did Empathy, Assistance, and Referral Service training, the on-campus peer counseling system, and last week I attended the first meeting of Education 2610, also known as Intergroup Dialogue Project. In EARS training and in IDP, we did active listening exercises in pairs. One person would talk for three minutes without the other responding.
Last week, laid out in the center of the Arts Quad were five sets of sets of flags, each displaying a number. Heading each display was the name of a different nation: Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Somalia and Sudan. These signs, placed there by Cornell Amnesty International as a part of the Week of Action, counted the number of refugees displaced from each nation, and were designed to raise awareness about the hardships faced these millions. On Wednesday night, nearly all of the 250 flags were removed from the ground and scattered throughout North Campus. And it is very difficult to understand why.