The Hague, December 10th

Last week, I hopped on a train heading towards The Hague. This week, my Rohingya friends are hopping on the same train. They’re standing exactly where I stood as they await the hearing of the Rohingya case in the International Court of Justice.

I was on my way back to Amsterdam after a quick visit with some Rohingya friends. I decided to make a quick stopover to meet my friend in The Hague. I scrolled through the updated news articles highlighting Aung San Suu Kyi and the anticipation of her arrival to The Hague in a week.

“If only I was going to be there…” I thought to myself. I hopped off the train and found my friend. We met at a hostel in Malaysia a few years back — I happened to be in the area where he lives, so we figured we’d catch up. Already aware of my connection with the Rohingya community, he arranged plans for us to visit the building where Aung San Suu Kyi would be on December 10th. We hopped on bicycles and I got my first Dutch experience — gallivanting through the streets on my cute little bicycle. All I needed were some klompins and tulips and I would’ve been the proper Dutch girl.

Just needed some klompin’ and tulips and you wouldn’t know I’m American, right?

We pulled up to the front of the building and I hopped off my bike. I looked around and thought of where all of my friends would be standing on December 10th. This is the gate where Aung San Suu Kyi will walk through. That’s where all my friends will stand and hold their banners and posters. This is where the Rohingya case will be brought to light.

Everyone was asking me why I’m not there today on December 10th. After all, it’s the big day for the Rohingya community. That’s because I had somewhere else I needed to be: with someone very special to me. While I knew that this big event was coming up, I made the decision to spend the day with my Rohingya friend in Georgia. She and her husband just bought a house together with their two kids. After coming to the country several years ago as refugees, all of their hard work has led to this point, where they can finally call a home their own. I’m so proud to be part of this moment.

While December 10th may be a huge step for the entire Rohingya community, this day is a huge step for this family in particular. I feel honored to be part of this transition — as they step into a new chapter of their lives in a place where they are finally home. I’m excited to be there to welcome them home.

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