Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Left to Tell

by Imaculee Ilibagiza
Finished April 2011

I've been hearing about this book for a long time. Immculee Ilibagiza is Catholic, so I hear about her on the Catholic radio station and on the blogs I read. This is a true story of her life in Rwanda and her escape from the genocide there.

Ilibagiza is a Tutsi and, at this time in the history of Rwanda, Tutsis were considered second class citizens. Of course, for the most part, no one can tell a Hutu from a Tutsi from anyone else. There are physical characteristics that tend to run through the two tribes, but they are unreliable indicators. The people of Rwanda must carry identification cards to prove whether they are Hutu or Tutsi.

How in the world can a community of friends and neighbors turn into mindless monsters, hunting each other down and killing each other in the most terrible ways? The government of the dominant Hutus spread propaganda to their tribe members, convincing them that the Tutsis were evil and should be eliminated.

Immaculee had great faith in God to begin with, but her faith was tested time and time again through her ordeal. She got separated from her family, not knowing whether they survived the Hutu killers. She ended up hiding with at least seven other women in a small bathroom in the house of a village pastor. They hid for months because revealing themselves would be sure death.

Time and again God saved Immaculaee through miraculous, or at least providential, events. She could have been killed a number of times, but always escaped.

So now Immaculee is spreading the good news of Jesus Christ by telling her story. She hopes to bring people to Christ and to end violence through her message.

This is an amazing story. I am so glad I read it. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get through it (after having read of the Rwandan genocide in the book Bonobo Handshake), but it wasn't so bad. Immaculee doesn't shield her readers from anything, but the hope and faith that she expresses in this book is the thing that will get you through the book.
I loved Immaculee's story of her early life and of her strong Catholic family.

I recommend that everyone read Immaculee's story.

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