Sunday, October 31, 2010

Left to Tell

Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust is the true story of Immaculee Ilibagiza's survival through the Rwandan genocide.  For those who may not be familiar with it, the Rwandan genocide took place in 1994 in the African country of Rwanda.  The murder spree inflicted by the Hutus onto the Tutsis lasted 3 months and left almost a million dead.  Immaculee found herself, as a Tutsi, one of the hunted. 

Like many others, Immaculee survived by finding a hiding place.  For 91 days, she hid in a tiny bathroom with seven other women.  By the time it was safe to come out of hiding, Immaculee's life was changed forever.  She had to start over from scratch despite all of the hard work she had done.  What helped Immaculee through this nightmare was her faith in God.  She spent most of her time in hiding praying and talking with God. 
I've read a few books by survivors of the Rwandan genocide.  They're touching, heartbreaking, and enlightening.  This book was no different.  The first thing that struck me was how different my world is compared to Immaculee's.  As she was growing up, it was not assumed that everyone went to high school.  Families had to pay tuition or students had to win scholarships.  As I was growing up, there was never any question as to whether or not I would go to  high school.  It was a given. 

Because Immaculee was a Tutsi, she was frequently discriminated against.  People expected the worst from her, but she always excelled.  This is something I've never experienced.  I've never been discriminated against because of my looks, my ethnic background, or my family's background. 

Immaculee's story is sad but inspiring.  I can't imagine going through the things she experienced.  I can't imagine facing the losses she has felt.  Yet, through it all, she has persevered.  She has survived physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  Her story is one that clearly demonstrates how people can overcome the most devastating of life's surprises.

I loved this book.  Immaculee's story was amazing.  I would recommend this book to everyone.  Actually, I would recommend that everyone read up on the Rwandan genocide itself.  It makes me sad and sick to my stomach to think that people could be so cruel.  I cannot understand how people can just set out to kill an entire group of people based on stereotypes they've been fed through the years.  Genocide is not a rare occasion.  We're all familiar with the Jewis Holocaust.  Recently, we're heard about the genocide in Darfur.  Many people in the U.S. might argue that it could never happen here.  I would have to disagree, though.  Despite all of the advances we have made through the years, hate still runs deep in certain parts of the country.  That's all it takes to start a genocide; hate.

Rating: 5/5

No comments:

Post a Comment