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Left To Tell by Immaculée Ilibagiza

Discussion
Jan 4, 2012
by: Anonymous

" Left To Tell" by Immaculée Ilibagiza is an auto-biography of how she survived the Rwandan Genocide. She tells us about how she had a struggle to stay alive and all the problems she encountered along the way in 1994. She begins by telling us about her surroundings of her village Mataba, Rwanda.

Immaculée lives with her mother Rose, father Leonard, brothers from oldest to youngest: Aimable, Damascene, and Vianney. She tells us how her parents are the most respected people around and that she lives by Lake Kivu in her mothers dream house her father had built for her.

Once she starts attending school, there is a roll call where the teacher calls out a tribe and students must stand up according to their tribe. Immaculée doesn't know what tribe she belongs to because she was never taught about separation but that a good man is not determined by their tribe but by who they are. So, she is taught that she is a Tutsi and soon a war starts breaking out between Tutsi's and Hutu's when the RPF ( Tutsi rebel soldiers ) attack on Kigali because they want to take over government since Tutsi's where kicked out of Rwanda and made sure that that didn't take part in government.

Soon after, Hutu extremists from all over Rwanda go on killing sprees killing all Tutsi's in site. All the Tutsi's gather up by their house because Leonard is the most respected man and they try and fight off the killers. Statistically wagering population, there are FAR more Hutus than Tutsis making the survival chance extremely hard when plenty full are being killed every single day, with no one to spare from adult to infant. They search through homes for any hidden Tutsis and burn them down after they are finish.

There are many encounters of rapings, robbery, and death which all violate the UDHR articles. As for the government, the president is not protecting every resident of Rwanda but making sure that all Tutsis are killed and exterminated referring to them as "cockroaches" and "snakes". So, to protect Immaculée, her father and brother sends her to a local pastor Munrizi and tells her to hide there since he is a Hutu. So, her and her littlest brother Vianney head out to his house in hiding but Vianney is forced to leave with his friend Augustine since they are men and should fend for themselves.

Immaculée ends up staying in a tiny bathroom with 8 other women for about three months and is forced to live in the worst of conditions and starving. They conceal the bathroom door with a big dresser so that when the house would be searched the Hutus wouldn't be able to find it. When French UN soldiers arrive to Rwanda, Immaculée and the eight other women are sent to the UN site for safety. Immaculée helps out by writing down the names of the other Tutsis they find and their stories.

After a while staying with the UN soldiers, they are delivered to RPF soldiers but they encounter some Hutus who have an ache to kill them but they are scared off because they know that the RPF soldiers are bound to kill them before they can even attack. They are returned to safety and once the killing are over, she finds the whereabouts of her family. Immaculée finds that her mother was killed protecting other people, her father was slaughtered when going over to his Hutu friend who traded him in when he asked for resources for all the Tutsis he was protecting, Vianney & Augustine where bombed when they arrived to a field full of other Tutsi's and Damascene was betrayed when he was being hidden by his friend and his friends brother Simoni told the Hutu extremist about him and sent them to kill him. He was striped naked thinking he was going to wash his clothes but he was led to a room where a bunch of killers surrounded him and beat him mercilessly leaving his face deformed. They ask him where Immaculée was hiding but he refuses to tell them and ends up dying protecting his sister and pride and the fact that he possessed no fear for such killers.

This triggered surprise within the killers and they stopped in their place contemplating whether or not to kill him. They stood there in shock until the leader ordered them to kil Damascene and so it was done. Because Damascene had said Immaculée was smarter but they tell Damascene how he has a masters degree yet they found him. They then chop off his arms and cut him up and crack open his skull prancing around saying they've seen the brain of a man with a masters degree.

Immaculée goes home with Aloise, a woman she'd met that asked her to stay with her, in debt of Rose when she helped Aloise. She stays with Aloise for a while and once she feels she can re-start her life again, she applies for jobs and finds herself with a stable job being payed a good wage. She meets up with her brother Aimable and delivers the bad news via letters. Immaculée is told that they have jailed the killers of her family and she goes to visit them. She soon discovers that the killer is someone she knew, a man who had always put her down. Her professor.

The UN guard picks on the killer and demands to know why he killed Immaculée's family members and he does not answer in shame but possesses a great amount of guilt, clearly shown in his face. So, instead of spitting on the killer and getting angry, she only feels pity for him and tells her she forgives him because all she has in her heart is forgiveness. After this, she lets go of the troubles she'd faced and finds herself in love with a man who works at the UN, Bryan. She tells us how she gets married to him and ends up with two children, Bryan Jr. and Nikeisha. In the end, Immaculée Ilibagiza is the one who is "left to tell" about the tragedies that occurred in the Rwanda Genocide.

Comments

Pt 2

Submitted by 15NersisyanM on Wed, 2012-01-11 11:20.

An important quote in the book "Left To Tell" by Immaculée Ilibagiza is :

“I knew that my heart and mind would always be tempted to feel anger--to find blame and hate. But I resolved that when the negative feelings came upon me, I wouldn't wait for them to grow or fester. I would always turn immediately to the Source of all true power: I would turn to God and let His love and forgiveness protect and save me.”

This quote is important because it shows how Immaculée was fond of God even though she had been through so much struggles through out her life, including the Genocide which affected her dearly. It had brang her down consistently when she had no one to turn to with her problems and she had to survive on her own with not much to begin with since all the Hutus had burned down her house & belongings. It was a tough time for her and her family but they all prayed for God's help. Immaculée prayed through out the days in the bathroom. She stayed up all night praying and reciting passages from the bible.