Left to Tell

Left to Tell

by Immaculee Ilibagiza

Linda Spudic (02/03/13): I am drawn to stories of survival. Through these stories I am reassured by how the human spirit can overcome even the most difficult situations. Some of my most memorable reads in this genre, if I can call it that, have been remarkable stories of perseverance, hope and a mostly positive look to the future. “What will be, will be, but I’m planning to have a future and it will be a great one.”

Immaculee’s story is one of those tales. She was a Rwandan college student when the second massacre of innocents in her country took place. The Hutu majority Rwandan government wanted to cleanse the country of all citizens who were Tutsi, the result of a longstanding ethnic conflict. (There had been a Hutu massacre in the 1960’s.) Prior to the start of this genocide, Immaculee’s family was well established and well respected in their community. In 1994, one by one, her family attempted to flee to Zaire. This is where the story of survival begins.

Immaculee was lucky enough to have a family friend agree to hide her, along with 6 other women, in a tiny bathroom. They survived there for 90 days! They could not speak for fear of being discovered and then brutally murdered along with more than a half million fellow Tutsis. Two key things that helped her survive were her faith and teaching herself English.

Not only is this story an amazing survival story, but also a lesson in African history that I hope is not repeated.
Rating: *****

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