Thursday, January 12, 2012

Left to Tell

In 1994, I had the world by the tail. Fresh out of grad school with a job that was full of promise. Newly-engaged to the man of my dreams. But while I was consumed by advancing a career and planning a wedding, there was something incredibly sinister occurring across the globe. A holocaust was taking place. Approximately a million people were slaughtered in the Rwandan genocide.

ImmaculĂ©e Ilibagiza is a surviving Tutsi from Rwanda. And she recounts her amazing story in the book Left to Tell.  If you haven't read it, please do. I'd also recommend renting Hotel Rwanda. It's an important piece of our modern history. And it still befuddles me.

The young beautiful Rwandan poignantly takes us through the story of the Civil War through her innocent, faithful eyes who grew up in a peaceful village of Hutus and Tutsis. She, herself, didn't even know her lineage until the "ethnic roll calls" begin. Then we see how the world turns upside, seemingly, overnight. And ImmaculĂ©e loses almost everyone in her family–in the most unthinkable ways. While she (and seven other women) are kept alive by a minister in a secret bathroom, she is really saved by her faith in God.

There won't be a part of the book that you won't continue to think about. But I will tell you this–the ending will resonate with some force. The survivor is not only delivering a message of tolerance. She's delivering a message of faith...and forgiveness. Forgiveness. Now that's grace.

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