When my husband told me he was buying a book about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, I knew that it would be an intense read. It certainly was intense — more than just about any other book I’ve read.
In her book Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, Immaculee Ilibagiza tells a story of terror, loss, grief and forgiveness. During the three-month period after the death of Rwanda’s Hutu president in 1994, thousands of ethnic Tutsis were killed. At age 24, college student Immaculee was visiting her family for the holidays when the slaughter began. She and seven other Tutsi women hid for 91 days in the bathroom of a Hutu pastor’s house.
Through hours of prayer, devout Catholic Immaculee found the strength to forgive those who killed her family members and so many other Tutsis. Eventually, her prayers lead her to a new life of healing and helping others who survived this tragedy.
As I read Left to Tell, the book stayed in my mind and heart throughout each day. I dreamed at night about Immaculee’s account of the atrocities, and wondered how anyone could survive such horror. Immaculee can teach all of us the power of forgiveness, even in the most unimaginable circumstances. I highly recommend this book.