Survivor of genicide tells of horror, hope, forgiveness
Posted April 17, 2009on:
Buhoro, ten-year-old Immaculee Ilibagiza’s teacher, took ethnic roll call on the first day at her new school. Her teacher angrily sent Immaculee from the classroom when she stood up for none of the three tribes, Hutu, Tutsi or Twa, that he called from the roll.
“Get out! Get out of this class and don’t come back until you know what you are!” said Buhoro.
Immaculee Ilibagiza tells the story of her life in Rwanda and how the tension between the majority Hutu tribe and the minority Tutsi tribe erupts into a full blown genocide in 1994 in her book “Left to Tell.”
The idyllic life that Immaculee lives with her mother, father and three brothers turns into Immaculee’s fight for survival as the Hutus begin a three-month murder spree, which kills nearly a million Rwandans.
As the Hutus approach her home in the village of Mataba overlooking Lake Kivu, Immaculee’s father tells her to flee to the home of Pastor Murinzi, a long-time friend and Hutu, to take refuge from the killers. Immaculee begs Pastor Murinzi to hide her from the murderous Hutus, and for 91 days, she hides with seven other women in a small, remote bathroom in the pastor’s home away from the pastor’s family and the murderers.
The book unfolds like a fiction thriller with the reader wondering if Immaculee and the other women will survive or be found and killed on the spot. The outcome of the book shows the strength and the courage Immaculee showed during her ordeal, how she recovers, the fate of her family and her capacity to forgive those who hurt her most.