Friday, July 24, 2009

Hope and Inspiration from the Rwandan Genocide

Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've had this book sitting on my nightstand for several weeks, after checking it out from the library thanks to many recommendations from friends and acquaintances. I'm so glad I finally made the time to read it. It really is a page turner and doesn't take long to get through it. Once you begin you can't put it down, in part because you want the suffering to end.

Left to Tell is the true and horribly detailed account of a tremendous evil that left over one million dead--most of them chopped to death with machetes by their own friends and neighbors at the urging of the government, while the United States and the rest of the civilized world did nothing. The Rwandan genocide lasted only about one hundred days, but in that brief span of time, the ruling Hutus brutally murdered over their Tutsi countrymen. Any Hutu who resisted or sheltered Tutsis was also brutally murdered. Husbands were made to watch their wives being gang raped before they were slaughtered. Mothers watched their babies being slashed to death, or had their babies left motherless on the road while they were killed. The atrocities that were committed are mind-boggling and left me feeling bitter and angry at the perpetrators and our own government for doing nothing.

But the message of this book isn't about violence or atrocities or retribution or blame. It is about forgiveness, love, hope, prayer and God's loving kindness.

I can't recommend this book highly enough. I know I needed a shot in the arm to remind me of the bounteous blessings I have living in this country. Despite my concern about the Obama presidency and their blatant anti-life agenda, their smug arrogance regarding global warming and their socialistic ideas of big government, I have it pretty darned good. For starters, I can walk down the street without fear that my neighbors could chop me to pieces.

Another thing I loved about this book is how the author, Immaculée, immersed herself in prayer during her 91 day stay in a tiny bathroom with six other women. She learned to connect herself to God and He gave her the strength she needed to endure the tremendous hardships of her bathroom imprisonment as well as facing the heart-wrenching horrors of apocalyptic proportions during and after the genocide.

Don't let the forward by Dr. Wayne Dyer distract you from the amazing book. I was a little put-off by his description of Immaculée as "Divine" and his comparison of her to an Indian woman "who some believe is the Divine Mother."

Immaculée, (as her name suggests), is a devout Catholic, whose inspiring story speaks to all Christians, but especially to Catholics who can see in her story some glimpse of the lives of the saints. Surely there are a host of Rwandan martyrs looking down on us from heaven. After reading this story, I'm convinced among them must be the family of Immaculee and that she may be a living saint.

To read more about Immaculée, or to order the book, visit the website for her book here or her personal website here.

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4 comments:

Kalynne Pudner said...

On my retreat last year, sections of this book were read aloud. I agree with your assessment.

By the WAY...I'm coming to Colorado on August 5 (landing in Denver, then going to Boulder for an ethics conference). Any chance of getting together?

Debbie said...

If you came to Colorado and we didn't get together, I'd be miffed...look for my email. :-)

the booklady said...

As I told you on Goodreads, Debbi, I love this review and I appreciate what you shared with me there about meeting Paul Rusesabagina. That is awesome! I'm going to have to read this book and SOON!

God bless!

Sharon said...

I read Left to Tell a couple of years ago and loved it. I am inspired by Immaculee's faith. I saw her interviewed recently on EWTN about her new book about Our Lady of Kibeho, a recently approved Marian apparition in Rwanda. She mentioned that a film is planned for Left to Tell!