Left to Tell: One Woman’s Traumatic Journey

By Ghessell Horam


Quote from author Immaculee Ilibagiza. Photo via Google Images.

To start, I would like to give my utmost condolences and thanks to Immaculée Ilibagiza for not only facing such atrocities but then going on to tell of it. It must have been a terribly difficult thing to go through what she did and then to recount the details of her life during the Rwandan holocaust.

 Left to Tell by Immaculée Ilibagiza, which was published in 2006 as a 214-page memoir, takes place during the Rwandan holocaust. The holocaust takes place between two ethnic groups the Hutus and the Tutsis. The Tutsis were once in power and over the years the Hutus sought vengeance. The Hutus finally rose up from up being “oppressed” and attacked the Tutsis. This was where the holocaust began. Ilibagiza’s book is a memoir of her life during the Rwandan Holocaust.This memoir tells not only of her time during this mass genocide but of her journey with God and how her faith became stronger than ever before. In the beginning of the book, Ilibagiza tells of how wonderful her childhood was growing up in the beautiful country of a Rwanda. I enjoy the fact that she tells of her background before getting into the intricacies of the story. I found it interesting to learn of her life and how it was before the holocaust. Ilibagiza makes a point to let her readers know of her early infatuation with God and how she loved everything to do with Him. For example, when she was 10 years old, Immaculée and a friend of hers at the time wanted to be nuns so they could dedicate their lives to God. As they grew older those dreams faded. Immaculée had three brothers only one of whom remained alive after the holocaust; her mother and father also perished.

It is unlikely that Ilibagiza would have survived without the kindness of her pastor and the will of the Lord. Pastor Murinzi was Hutu, making him well equipped to help Ilibagiza and the other women he hid. He hid the women in a small bathroom behind a wardrobe that was just the right size to conceal the door of the hidden bathroom.

This book is not for the faint of heart. The grief and sorrow conveyed in the words of these pages are real. The deaths and atrocities committed against these people are real. This memoir is not to tell of the horrible things done to people, but it is to tell of Ilibagiza’s path with God and how she found healing and forgiveness through Him. This story is a tale of how God can help you overcome any obstacle you feel you cannot face.


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