Monday, February 06, 2012

Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza

Eighteen years have passed since the genocide in Rwanda, a tragedy that should be remembered for eighteen hundred years and never repeated. The historical record, however, shows that lethal clashes between Tutsis and Hutus have occurred every other decade since the country's campaign for independence began in the 1950s. A million people may have died in 1994. How can the cycle be broken?

In Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, genocide survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza offer forgiveness as the key. Ilibagiza has so much to forgive. Her parents and two of her three brothers were brutally murdered in the Interhamwe uprising following the downing of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana's plane. Ilibagiza fled to the home of a Hutu minister who hid her and seven other women in a very small bathroom for 91 days while the massacre of Tutsis literally took place outside the tiny window through which she would sometimes peek. She survived by frequently reciting the prayers of the rosary, pausing and sometimes skipping the "as we forgive those who sin against us" statement in The Lord's Prayer. Her conscience would not rest, however, and she decided that the call to forgive is the challenge of her life.

Left to Tell is a natural for discussion groups. The book group from my church found it a very moving account but had several unanswered questions. The most puzzling was how Ilibagiza could spend 91 days with a group of women and say so little about them in her book. How could they all have maintained such quiet and discipline for three months? Also, is Ilibagiza's support of current president Paul Kagame consistent with her principles?

Group Left to Tell with the book An Ordinary Man by Paul Rusesabagina and films Hotel Rwanda and Munyurangabo, and you can get idea of what happened in Africa eighteen years ago.

Ilibagiza, Immaculee. Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust. Hay House, 2006. 215p. ISBN 1401908969


John said...

Yeah! about Rwandan genocide, I have less to write. Not because I know less but because I don't have someone to read it and won't change the meaning. I will pray for Ilibagiza and others like her.
God bless Rwanda.

ricklibrarian said...

Rwanda needs the blessing. Thanks.