Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Left to Tell

Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza, 2006 (210 pages)

In 1994, a terrible holocaust occurred in the tiny African country of Rwanda. There are two basic "tribes" of people in Rwanda...the Tutsis and the Hutus. There is a pretty involved back story here, but to keep this relatively short, you simply need to know that in April of 1994, the Hutus began killing the Tutsis. There was a lot of political influence and propaganda, and eventually, neighbors began turning on neighbors, and there was very little mercy shown. The goal of the Hutus was complete extermination of the Tutsis. Although the numbers aren't certain, it is estimated that in a period of just over 3 months, somewhere between 800,000 and one million Tutsi people were killed. Here's a wikipedia article that explains more detail, if you're interested.

Immaculee Ilibagiza is a Tutsi by ethnic heritage. She was raised in a devout Catholic home, and she had returned from her studies at the University for the Easter weekend when the killing began. Her parents sent her and her younger brother (and a friend of theirs) to the nearby home of a pastor to hide. Her brother and the friend had to leave the house, but Immaculee survived the genocide by hiding in a tiny bathroom at the pastor's house with seven other woman for 3 months. The pastor didn't tell anyone else in the house that the women were staying there, and he only fed them what he could manage without buying anything extra. While hiding in the bathroom, Immaculee spent her days praying.

This is an amazing story. There are parts of the book that are graphic, and yet the author writes without being gruesome. The things that the author experienced are absolutely horrific, and yet throughout her trials her faith in God actually grew stronger. This is definitely a book worth reading.
Total number of books read in 2009: 29
Total number of pages read in 2009: 11035

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