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Left To Tell
By Immaculee Ilibagiza
WOW! I don’t even have words to describe what this book did to me. I had no idea what the Rwandan genocide entailed…. nearly a million Rwandans lost their lives in nearly 100 days. The author of this book survived by being hidden in a very small bathroom with seven other woman for 91 days. They had standing room only and were never sure when they would get a meal, often 1 meal every few days for them all to share.
It wasn’t even that long ago that this happened. The Hutus and Tutsis were two people groups who lived in the same country of Rwanda. The Hutus ran the government and gave preference to all other Hutus. The Tutsis were second class citizens and often given the leftovers.
the tensions continued to escalate over the years. There were roving bands of men who would harass and beat Tutsis for no reason and the government and law enforcement would look on, not doing anything. The government also was providing and allowing propaganda to be spread among the people calling the Tutsis snakes and cockroaches – pests that need extermination. Finally it all boiled over on April 6th 1994.
For the next approximately 100 days the government called on the Hutu citizens to pick up arms and rid the country of all the Tutsis. Boarders were shut down and the people were trapped and hunted in their own country. Neighbors killed lifelong neighbors and friends, pastors killed their parishioners, nephews killed their uncles. Towards the end of the genocide the killers would wander around looking for people to kill, but couldn’t find any. Most were already dead. Piles of bodies lined the roadways and gutters. There was no one who cared to bury them. The country smelled of death. It is estimated that about 20% of the population of the nation died in those 91 days.
This book is about the life of Immaculee Ilibagiza who was hidden by a Hutu pastor. He had compassion on her and risked his own life and that of his family to protect her and 6 other Tutsis. This chronicle of what happened is saddening and heartbreaking. But even in the despair this woman rises above!
God meets her and she grows in communion with Him, while she is imprisoned in the bathroom for 91 days. She even is able to forgive her killers, those neighbors and friends seeking to kill her. Even with all the sadness and horror I couldn’t put the book down. What this woman goes through is unbelievable. It moves me to pray for other people groups all over the word fighting against racial prejudice and live in fear of death because of their race.
It’s an amazing book! A highly recommended read!