Posted: Sunday, December 2, 2012 9:41:05 AM
In a country the size of Maryland, bodies lay around like discarded cattle. At night, dogs howl, as they chew on human flesh. A slaughtering has ensued. By the end, as many as one million people will have have been killed. This is the Rwanda genocide. This was Immaculee’s reality. This is her story.
Immaculée Ilibagiza, author of the renowned book, Left to Tell, knows the story of the Rwanda genocide all too well. She survived in a bathroom-a room 3 feet by 4 feet, and heard the killers calling out her name, searching for her. Her mother, father, and two of her brothers were murdered because their family was of the ethnic minority, Tutsis. Now, she is left to tell.
A story of surviving genocide is moving within and of itself, but the most touching part of her story is actually what happened after the horror. Immaculée performed a feat, so incredible, so unfathomable- I still can’t wrap my mind around it. She has done something unheard of. She forgave. She decided to forgive the killers. Let me repeat that: she decided to forgive the killers.
Her story is one of a slaughtering so gruesome; I can’t pretend to describe it. But beneath this, is a story of bravery, resilience of the human spirit, and faith so strong, it demands your attention. Immaculée showed me the best of the human spirit at a time when the worst was revealed. She embodies a spirituality of serene peace and understands the simplicity of love. She is a light. If Immaculée had come out full of hatred, it would have been understandable, but she came out with love. This woman, whose family was murdered, has a better outlook on life that most people who grew up in affluent homes, safe and secure.
Many writers talk a lot, but say very little. But Immaculée's message is so profound, it speaks to your very soul. The tone of the book is clear, crisp, and remarkable positive. The book is strikingly genuine and honest; the flow comes naturally and the words present simple truths. When you hear the killers calling out for Immaculeé, as she trembles in a cramped bathroom with other women, the words will pierce your heart.
The Rwanda genocide is a topic worth reading-what percent of the masses truly understand what happened? It happened in 1994. 1994. Unlike some tragedies, this one unfolded before our very eyes. Other countries had their citizens evacuate, and left the natives of Rwanda to fend for themselves. We can learn from Immaculée’s story; we can do better.
She was "left to tell," but we are left to hear.