Immaculèe Ilibagiza was a college student in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide in which nearly one million people died. Her story is a remarkable testimony to the power of God’s grace to strengthen us during times of trial and to live the teaching of the Gospel in the face of overwhelming evil. Her story is told in the novel Left to Tell, published in 2006.
In Rwanda, there were three tribes, and each citizen belonged to one of the tribes. These tribes were the Hutu, which were the majority, Tutsi, which were the minority, and an extremely small number of Twa, which was a pygmy-like tribe of forest dwellers. Immaculèe and her family belonged to the Tutsi tribe, and because of this they were under great threat. The Hutu tribe wanted to kill every single Tutsi in Rwanda, and this was the cause of the genocide in 1994. The Tutsi tribe was taller, lighter-skinned and has narrower noses, and Hutus were shorter, darker, and have broad noses, and each person had an identity card which labeled what tribe they were in. This is how the Hutus chose their victims, by their identity card or their looks. Not only was Immaculèe under death threat, but she was also being treated unfairly by her peers. She was an extremely smart girl, and because of her being a Tutsi, she was not able to get a scholarship to college. Before the genocide came into full effect, there were many reports on the radio warning the Tutsis of killings to come. One day, Damascene, one of Immaculèe’s three brothers, told his family that he actually saw the killers, but they refused to believe him. They started to get nervous when President Habyarimana, the president of Rwanda, was killed. His plane was shot out of the sky, and this event sparked the beginning of the genocide. The more severe the radio reports were, the more nervous Immaculèe and family got. Immaculèe tried not to show her fear, because if she did, she would not be able to stay strong through this event. Many neighbors gathered around her...
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