Read Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculée Ilibagiza Steve Erwin Online


Immaculee Ilibagiza grew up in a country she loved, surrounded by a family she cherished. But in 1994 her idyllic world was ripped apart as Rwanda descended into a bloody genocide. Immaculee’s family was brutally murdered during a killing spree that lasted three months and claimed the lives of nearly a million Rwandans.Incredibly, Immaculee survived the slaughter. For 91 dImmaculee Ilibagiza grew up in a country she loved, surrounded by a family she cherished. But in 1994 her idyllic world was ripped apart as Rwanda descended into a bloody genocide. Immaculee’s family was brutally murdered during a killing spree that lasted three months and claimed the lives of nearly a million Rwandans.Incredibly, Immaculee survived the slaughter. For 91 days, she and seven other women huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor while hundreds of machete-wielding killers hunted for them. It was during those endless hours of unspeakable terror that Immaculee discovered the power of prayer, eventually shedding her fear of death and forging a profound and lasting relationship with God. She emerged from her bathroom hideout having discovered the meaning of truly unconditional love—a love so strong she was able seek out and forgive her family’s killers.The triumphant story of this remarkable young woman’s journey through the darkness of genocide will inspire anyone whose life has been touched by fear, suffering, and loss....

Title : Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781401908973
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 214 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust Reviews

  • Stephen
    2019-04-03 10:55

    Entering this book, I was expecting personal account of the Rwandan holocaust, despite the foreword stating otherwise. In some ways, my expectations were met, in some others, I was surprised. More than just a chronicling of atrocities, Imaculee Ilibagiza's tale is also a testament to inner fortitude, faith, and the power to forgive. As an agnostic (though my views on spirituality are constantly in flux) I expected that her story would come off as a bit hokey, with too much Jesus-speak for me. Again, I was surprised. While I tend to deny the miraculous slant she puts on many of her experiences in favor of a more worldly one, I find Ilibagiza's descriptions of her own faith nothing short of extraordinary. Her story, even for a nonbeliever, is an inspiring tale and a stunning demonstration of the power of her faith.Her narrative style is perfectly suited to her content. She writes simply and straightforwardly, giving the impression that she is telling events just as they happened, in all their bone-chilling details. This book can be read in one sitting, though its effects will linger for days afterwards.Definitely read this.

  • Gilbert
    2019-04-08 09:09

    "What was that all about, Immaculée? That was the man who murdered your family. I brought him to you to spit on if you wanted to. But you forgave him! How could you do that? Why did you forgive him?"I answered him with the truth: "Forgiveness is all I have to offer."pg. 204-----------------THAT line is the goal....but how the heck did this woman get to that point is why you NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!! Guilt and anger are forces destroying our cultures, our churches, and ourselves most of the time, if we don't know any better. Even so, it is extremely hard to look at the ugly face of reality and actually embrace it.This woman's message of how she came to forgive unspeakable atrocities (but she does write about them so that we can ponder the potential horror in society), and it needs to be heard and understood.Yes, the book tells of gross details and it isn't some theme you could sip a latte over. BUT THIS MAY SAVE YOU FROM YOURSELF!and isn't that worth the effort, to read a book that may not be at all lacking challenge, but one that will bring you to ask the question: what angers me or what relationship has been forgotten because of the lack of forgiveness?God grant us the strength to not die with unresolved issues, or hate in our heart, regardless of circumstance.

  • Paul
    2019-04-08 07:58

    I'm not giving this five stars because I think it is a great piece of literature or that it in any ways matches up with the great books of the world. The five stars are more for how powerful and raw the book felt and how much it physically effected me. To me this is the job of a really great survivor testimony. They don't have to be perfectly written or come with accompanying historical footnotes, etc. There were times as I was reading this book that I had a physical reaction to her story. She tells it in very simple terms and pulls no punches. I think some people might feel that she talks about her faith too much, and I have issues with that in my own life, but I would never deny that her faith is what got her through this horrific ordeal. Her story is not necessarily unique in the realm of the Rwandan genocide, though as I know from personal experience in working with Holocaust survivors every story is different and unique. Anyone with any interest in the power of human mind to overcome the absolute worst life can throw at you needs to read this book. Actually everyone needs to read this book.

  • booklady
    2019-03-26 13:56

    “I am human, and I think nothing of which is human is alien to me.” -Terence, Roman 2nd century playwrightThe first time I read Left to Tell I was so overwhelmed by the horror of the Rwandan genocide I could barely take in all that is commendable in Immaculeé’s writing. This is a book which merits a second, even a third read. No, I did not become hardened or closed off to the immensity of the atrocity, but I was able to step back and notice new and different things which deepened my appreciation of this already amazing autobiography. For example, I was able to savor all the little things with which Immaculeé filled her story: descriptions of her family and their compassion for one another; their simple lives and deep faith; their concern and care for their community; her family’s lack of prejudice despite their Tutsi minority status; the beauty of the Rwandan countryside; Immaculeé’s intense desire for an education and determination to get one despite all the obstacles she faced as a Tutsi; her many lovely and encouraging dreams of deceased family; her developing relationship with God, and SO much more. And on my first read, I completely missed the unique custom in Rwanda, where every family member has a different last name. ‘Parents give each children a unique surname at birth one that reflects the feelings of the mother or father at the moment they first lay eyes on their new baby.’ In her native language, Ilibagiza means, ‘shining and beautiful in body and soul.’ Her father chose that name for her. What a beautiful legacy! And sadly, when the genocide was over, the victims—and even their rescuers—exhibited the same angry, vengeful desires toward those who had wronged them, as had been vented on them only months earlier. Of course, this is only ‘natural’ and yet this is exactly what keeps the cycle of violence going generation after generation after generation. If you haven’t read this book, do. If you have, don’t just read it once, or at least take your time with it. It is about so much more than death, violence, and hatred; it is about the triumph of love and forgiveness. I put that quote at the beginning of this review as a reminder to myself—that numerically speaking, assuming I was a survivor—odds were more likely I would have been among those who caused the violence in Rwanda or wanted vengeance against those who did, than for me to have been one able to forgive as Immaculeé did. A sobering thought. 28 November 2017: Re-reading... It has been over eight years since I read this. Cannot remember if I loaned or gave away my copy of this book, but it is gone. So acquired a cheap second-hand copy to read before next year when Immaculée comes to OKC to speak. Will share this and her other book with my daughters and friend who are going to hear her. 21-22 October 2009: I couldn't put this book down from the moment I started it. Stayed up late at night reading it. I paid for it the next day at work; I was so tired, but it was worth it. I finished it in two days because the author's story is so compelling. And it's not just what she suffered or lost, because many people endured greater tragedies and were left without anyone. What made Immaculeé's story stand out was that she focused on her spiritual development throughout the crisis. We see how she was raised as a devout young girl by loving parents, but how her country's civil war brought out an inner strength and reservoir of faith she didn't know she had. When she was confined with seven other women in a tiny bathroom, she used the time to pray, meditate and develop a rich interior life with God, which not only helped her endure her captivity but also laid a foundation for building a new life after the war ended. The Rwandan genocide is a difficult subject to read about, but if you read no other book about it, I'd recommend this one. It's really a book about forgiveness and as such reminds me of a Vision Video I previewed recently which we purchased and plan to include as a part of our curriculum for the parent's portion of First Sacraments. I expect it could be used by many other church/faith groups as well. It's wonderful! It's called THE BIG QUESTION and it's the theme of Immaculeé's story, the purpose of her life: We all must learn to forgive.

  • Juliana
    2019-03-22 15:51

    To give this book fewer than five stars would be a statement that it was somehow incomplete or flawed. How could I find fault with something so heartfelt and genuine? This is a book I will not read again. This is a book I did not ENJOY reading, but it is a book that is worth reading. It is a book that uplifts, even while it subdues.Would I recommend this book to my friends? Only certain of them. If you like to read books that entertain and put your brain on cruise control, this isn't the book for you. If you like books that feed you and make you grateful for the gifts God has given you, this is a book you won't want to miss.

  • Books Ring Mah Bell
    2019-04-19 09:57

    Faith can be defined as:1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.2. belief that is not based on proof3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.(courtesy Immaculee Ilibagiza's faith was not shattered and completely destroyed after her ordeal in the Rwandan holocaust is astonishing. Tribal tensions between the Hutus and the Tutsis escalate and the Hutus set about destroying any Tutsi - from infants to elders, no one is spared, except for those that are hidden away. Immaculee manages to survive by being secretly stashed in a tiny bathroom for 3 months with several other women. Her family is murdered - her grandparents, parents, brothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins (including an 8 month old baby.) They are only a small portion of the million lives lost in the genocide.At one point, she hears screaming, then silence, then a baby crying. The baby is left for dead, and Immaculee has to hear the baby cry all night until the crying is replaced by the sound of snarling dogs. She prays for the child's soul and asks God, "How can I forgive people who would do such a thing to an infant?" He responds to her, "You are ALL my children... and the baby is with me now." This comforts her and she manages to go into "forgive them they know not what they do" mode.I go into "If we are ALL your children, I think you need to mix in a time-out. And maybe throw in some birth control while you are at it" mode.I read way too many books like this, Night, The Rape of Nanking, and I am repeatedly horrified by how these atrocities can occur. (maybe if I stop reading I can throw away my Paxil!!!) How someone is able to get to the point that they think it's okay, necessary even, to chop babies in half or throw hundreds of people into a fire because they are ethnically different is incomprehensible. What the hell goes wrong in your head that makes murder okay?!?!I get self-preservation. I get self-defense. I do. If someone comes into my home intending to do my family harm, then it's on. I will put my life on the line to protect, no questions asked.So is what happens with genocide a preemptive thing? Get them before they get us/taint the gene pool/ whatever??? Or is it driven by pure hatred? Is it the devil? I hate to go there, but I really can't wrap my mind around all these unspeakable evils without thinking there's a huge evil force behind it all. Which then gets me thinking, "where the hell is goodness/love and God" while this is going on? We don't want to go there, not now. (do we?)All I know, is that my faith, which most days is weak to non-existent, would certainly be gone after enduring what Immaculee endured.

  • Matt Evans
    2019-04-02 07:54

    Shocking and inspiring. Ms. Ilibagiza tells the story of what happened to her during the Rwandan Holocaust. The narrative's glut of horrific violence made me sick at heart, but Ilibagiza's faith and personal strength pulled me through.These people are just like you and me: human, educated, desiring of a happy life, and it's stunning to see how quickly so much of this can go down the tubes when mob mentality, based on racial prejudice, sets in. And lest my dear review reader thinks that such things don't happen in America, let's pause for a moment to consider what happened in New Orleans during Katrina. Yes, Katrina, New Orleans, wasn't anything close to a Rwandan Holocaust, but I was shocked how many people, in the aftermath -- good religious, supposedly god-fearing people -- said things to me like, "Those people weren't smart enough to leave when they should have" or "Why should I send money, they're just a bunch of welfare cheats anyway", etc. Barbara Bush spoke for many when she said of the Houston Astrodome Refugess: "They're loving it here."It's exactly that brand of dismissive rationalization and downgrading of human suffering, based on class- and racial-prejudice, taking place over decades, that set the stage for the Hutu massacre of the Tutsis. The Nazi Holocaust took off from the nearly exact same foundation of social and class prejudice against the Jews.Anyway, I think that this should be required reading. Ms. Ilibagiza is remarkably brave, and you need to hear her story.

  • Karen
    2019-04-06 12:16

    Eye-opening. I didn't want to put it down. Most of all, humbling. I am ashamed at what horrendous things we, as human beings do to each other and also, what we ALLOW to happen. It broke my heart to read of all those refugees hoping and praying for help from someone--anyone, and no one stepped up to help. They were left to fend for themselves. I am ashamed at my own whining and complaining about nothing. I have everything! I am so very blessed. I was inspired by Immaculee's ability to visualize what she wanted...and she always got exactly what she visualized! One of my favorite lines in the book was this: "I was living proof of the power of prayer and positive thinking, which really are almost the same thing. God is the source of all positive energy, and prayer is the best way to tap in to His power."I also loved the part where she asked the pastor who was hiding her for a Bible. (I had a similar experience recently with opening my own scriptures to a passage that I knew was meant especially for me.) Immaculee had just prayed for another woman (the pastor had turned the woman away) and she had also pled for a sign that God was watching over her and the women in the bathroom with her. At that moment the pastor opened the door and gave her the requested Bible. She opened it immediately and looked down to read Psalm 91 which reads:"This I declare, that He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I am trusting him. For He rescues you from every trap and protects you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with His wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor. Now you don't need to be afraid of the dark any more, nor fear the dangers of the day; nor dread the plagues of darkness, nor disasters in the morning. Though a thousand fall at my side, though ten thousand are dying around me, the evil will not touch me."She was spared and lived to tell her story. It is worth reading.

  • Glenna
    2019-03-26 11:53

    All those who harassed Eliece about this book, need to buck up and read it. This is a story that everyone should know. This is a story of great faith. Even though it deals with what happened in Rwanda (which we should all understand) it is the story of a young woman who found God in a bathroom and how he rescues her again and again even through some very difficult situations. My favorite quote from the book happens when there are killers outside the place she is hiding, calling her name and she is praying and has a vision of Jesus who says to her "mountains are moved with faith, Immaculee, but if faith were easy, all the mountains would be gone."

  • Clif Hostetler
    2019-04-12 13:08

    It's sadly ironic that some people see proof that there is no God when they consider the evil manifest in the Rwandan holocaust. This author lived through that holocaust, her family were victims, and she says she discovered God amidst it. The style of this book is that of a religious faith journey. Considering the unbelievably horrible things she experienced, I can't suggest a better approach to the subject. The terrible things that happened are beyond belief! I suppose it makes little sense to compare various historical holocausts in an effort to determine which was worst. But the unique characteristic of the Rwandan holocaust that shocks me is how up close and personal many of the killings were. The majority of the killing was done with macheties and in many cases the killers and victims knew each other, were neighbors, had grown-up together and gone to school together. The predominate religion in the country was Christianity (see footnote), they spoke the same language and they had similar skin color. We're talking about nearly a million people killed (20% of the population) which leads to the probable conclusion that there may have been about the same number of people guilty of murder. In the case of Immaculée Ilibagiza, the author of this book, the killers called out her name while searching the house where she was hiding. They had reason to believe she was there but were unable to find her. She recognized their voices. One of the voices was of a man who she later learns killed her mother and brother and a man who's children she had been classmates with in grade school.Most people assume the holocaust was a Hutu versus Tutsi tribal conflict. But many Hutu's were massacred in the holocaust as well. 10% to 20% of those killed may have been Hutu. It was actually a massacre initiated by a politically extreme group that advocated the ideology of "Hutu Power" that called for killing all Tutsis and moderate Hutus. I found it of interest that there was a Hutu soldier among the RPG (Tutsi) armed fighters who rescued Immaculée and her group of Tutsi survivors. It was the Hutu soldier who recognized Immaculée as a former classmate and saved her and her group from being charged as Hutu spies. They were suspected of being Hutus because the first soldiers they encountered couldn't believe it possible that any real Tutsis could have survived the holocaust in that part of the country.One story from the book that I think illustrates the predicament of the Hutus is one family that rescued and hid a Tutsi woman who had been left for dead. Even though the family was hiding a Tutsi in their house, their son went out each day during the 90 day killing spree to join with other armed Hutus to look for and kill any Tutsis they could find. He had to participate in these murderous activities to prevent other Hutus from suspecting his family of harboring a Tutsi. So it is very possible that some of the killers were reluctant participants in the killing. Hutu families who were found to be hiding Tutsees were slaughtered along with the Tutsis they were hiding. Immaculée lost her mother, father and two brothers to the holocaust. One brother survived by being out of the country. After the RPG had occupied the country and brought the killing to an end, Immaculée met and talked to the man who killed her mother and brother. This is the man who called out her name while looking for her to kill her. It is presumed that his interest in making sure all members of the family were killed was because he was interested in claiming their family's property. She was able to look him in the eye and say, "I forgive you." When asked why she said, "Forgiveness is all I have to offer."Link to Immaculée’s webpage: of 2006, Catholics represented 56.5% of the population of Rwanda, Protestants 37.1% (of whom 11.1% were Seventh Day Adventists) and Muslims 4.6%. 1.7% claimed no religious beliefs.

  • Christy
    2019-03-31 11:52

    From the first page, there’s something phony about this book, but it’s hard to pin down. I have no doubt that Immaculee lost her entire family, and I’m very sorry for what happened to her and her people. I believe the basic facts of the story, because I remember news accounts of the time, but some of Immaculee’s details sound fake. Eight women hiding in a bathroom three feet by four feet, (with a toilet taking up some of the room,) and the minister throws in a mattress for them? At one point in the story, she says there were 40 to 50 killers in the room next to her. How could she possibly have known how many there were? She’s a tall woman weighing 115 pounds at the beginning of the story, (hard enough to believe in itself,) then she loses 50 pounds over the next three months, getting down to 65 pounds, and the night they are let out of the bathroom, she runs to safety? How could she even walk? By the way, how could she know she weighed 65 pounds, when she lived in very primitive conditions for the next several weeks. But it’s not just the strange and contradictory details, but the whole tone of the book that seems fake. I notice on her web site that she has a full speaking schedule, she makes numerous media appearances, and that she recently signed a movie contract. Since the book was written twelve years after the war, maybe she had gotten into the habit of making a good story even better. Too bad. The simple truth would have had a deeper impact.

  • Jessika
    2019-04-02 12:01

    This is definitely the most powerful book that I have ever read. Reading this book brought me to tears so many times, and it truly takes a phenomenal woman to go through what she did and then forgive the perpetrators after all was said and done. I believe that this is a book that everyone needs to read at some point in his life. Not only will reading this book make you realize how much you may take for granted in your life, but it also shows you that if she can find forgiveness through God, so can you, no matter how big or small the trespass. This woman's relationship with God is remarkable and should be something that everyone should strive for. Be aware that this book will bring you to tears, but it will also open your eyes in the end. I had a feeling when my aunt bought me this book to read that it would change my life forever...and I have to say that it most certainly did.

  • LaSchelle
    2019-03-26 16:09

    Amazing survival story! Through her ordeal, she was isolated with 7 other women for 3 months in a tiny bathroom. She turned to prayer and meditation as she had no idea how long this ordeal would last. Through this horror, she became closer to God. She listened to inspiration from God and it saved her life and the lives of those with her. It was a great reminder that money and power can influence people to do evil. Slowly, people can be influenced to believe things that are not true or act inhumanly based on subtle propaganda. Her ability to forgive allowed her to move on with her life and help others. Some of my favorite quotes:"All I could do was pray, so that's what I did." p.114"I reached out, touched his hands lightly, and quietly said what I'd come to say. "I forgive you." My heart eased immediately. "That was the man who murdered your family. I brought him to you to question . . . to spit on if you wanted to. But you forgave him! How could you do that? Why did you forgive him?""I answered him with the truth: "Forgiveness is all I have to offer."" p.204

  • Kt
    2019-04-08 10:02

    This book broke my heart over and over all the while strengthening my spirit. I learned that no matter what your situation you can put your trust in God's hands. Often times I feel like my own needs are trivial in comparison to what others may be dealing with and that I don't have a right to burden Heavenly Father with my miniscule problems and questions. But we all need direction, no matter what your circumstance and we all need support. This book was wonderful. I marveled at her amazing faith and her willingness to forgive and love. It inspired me to serve more willingly, to be more informed, and to try to put my life in God's hands.

  • Hafsah M
    2019-04-21 16:09

    Imagine being in a closet sized bathroom with 7 strangers for 91 days. Most of us cannot even imagine this. Immaculee Ilibagiza lived this horror during the Rwandan Genocide in 1994. I was very surprised upon reading this novel. This fascinating story was not just about the Rwandan government and about the genocide, but it is also about Immaculee’s journey with god. Immaculee is brought up in a very religious household and being a minority never crossed her mind. In Rwanda there are two tribes, the Hutus and the minority: Tutsis. These Tutsis lived in the same neighborhoods, went to the same schools, churches etc but when the government calls for all the Tutsis to be killed, the extremist Hutus go at it. The Tutsis were viciously hunted “‘and they were all annihilated. First the killers shot them with machine guns, and then they threw grenades at them.’”(Ilibagiza 146). Similarly in Nazi Germany, the minority is wrongly viewed and treated. I personally and disgusted by some of the things that people considered to be okay to do back in the day but we need to understand that this was just considered the norm. Immaculee is inspiring in this beautiful story where she describes her relationship with god. She said “she felt like the daughter of the kindest, most powerful king the world had ever known. I surrendered my thoughts to God every day when I retreated to that special place in my heart to communicate with Him. That place was like a slice of heaven, where my heart spoke to His holy spirit, and His spirit spoke to my heart. He assured me that while I lived in His spirit, I’d never be abandoned, never be alone, never be harmed.”(106). I personally really liked how Immaculee talked about how God gave her strength to get through such a hard time in her life. She is truly an inspiration to women everywhere. She is like a bird, soaring over all her problems and eventually being free. This book is an eye opener to a horrific genocide that was forgotten in history. It tells the story of a smart young girl named Immaculee and her journey with forgiveness. It reminds us the power of god and that shows us how a corrupt government can affect minorities. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It is a story about an event lost in history that needs to not be forgotten. At the end of the day, this book reminds me of how blessed and lucky I am to be living the life I am living in a free country. “Left to Tell” by Immaculee Ilibagiza reminds me of the famous saying “I see humans, but no humanity.”

  • Lia
    2019-04-08 15:16

    I haven't read much about the Rwandan genocide because it still feels so close. It hurts me too deeply to realize that this happened in my conscious lifetime. But a close friend of mine said she kept thinking I should read this book and then lent it to me.Well, I read it. And here is my review. I'll address it in two parts: The Story and The Writing.The Story: It is terrifying to see an entire country collapse into rampant mob-murder. I can't really take it in entirely. It's too much to think that people could kill their neighbors that they've loved. It is inspiring to see Immaculee hold on to God to make it through these atrocities. I'm amazed that she can look at the man who led the mob that killed several in her family and say "I forgive you."The Writing: There's a problem here. I can feel Immaculee's voice underneath it--her efforts to put this story into words. I can feel her desperation and horror, her peace and faith. She's there. But heavily on top of her voice is the "with Steve Erwin." The journalistic writing style that overwrites emotions and uses too many adjectives conflicts with her story, making it seem less real rather than more real. Added to this is the very strange problem of using language from Western New Age ideas to describe her use of faith and prayer. The term "positive thinking" and related terms and ideas are very heavy toward the end of the book. The preface is by Wayne Dyer, and in the acknowledgments, he is praised as the one who made the writing of the book possible. And his deep fingerprints are visible in this book. This really cheapened the story for me and made me angry that some American would use this woman's survival to forward his own philosophies. Saying that prayer and "positive thinking" are the same, which the book literally does, collides thoroughly with the desperate, meditative, almost trance-like prayer that Immaculee holds on to through her hiding and even after. It feels imposed and false. This really is my big hangup with the book: the imposed message that if you just think positively, everything will work out for you in the end and you'll get everything you want. There is, of course, something to be said for positive thinking, but to have this extreme version of this concept in the middle of a story, a real story, where so many people died (who may have been thinking positively, too, you know), it rings false. I'm glad that she was able to tell her story. And I think it will help people. But I wish that others hadn't imposed their agenda on this book (shame on you, Wayne Dyer).

  • juan carlos
    2019-04-12 14:16

    UNA HISTORIA DESGARRADORA, CON UNA GRAN ENSEÑANZA DE VIDA. Para ser mi primer libro de temática histórica y de escritora africana, me conmovió y me dejo un grato sabor de boca.

  • Debbie
    2019-04-13 16:14

    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 Immaculee 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.

  • Oliver
    2019-03-22 10:52

    Reading this book is a pretty sobering experience. Author Immaculée Ilibagiza is a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan Holocaust, during which approximately 1,000,000 people were killed over the span of 100 days. This book is to the Rwandan Holocaust what The Diary of a Young Girl is to the Jewish Holocaust. Like Anne Frank, Ilibagiza is not writing about the history, politics, or culture of her country, or of the genocide, but rather how it affected her (although Ilibagiza's recount is obviously more intentional). At the age of 22, Ilibagiza hid in a 3x4’ bathroom with seven other women for most of the genocide (91 days, specifically), so the book is extremely personal. Her story is despairing and hopeful all at once.So what can one say about a book like this? The writing style is simple, and the book is pretty short, so it is a quick, easy (atrocities aside) read. Her descriptions and fluidity are so clear that the reader can tell that the details of the ordeal are still as fresh in Ilibagiza’s mind as if they had happened to her only days prior to writing. But the events are not really what leaves the impression. Most anyone who lives through a horrendous catastrophe could probably write a successful book about their experiences, but Ilibagiza’s unfaltering positivity, resolve, faith (in both God and humanity), and empathy stick out much more than the circumstances themselves. Just imagine being crammed in a tiny room, suffering from lice, the occasional 105° fever and/or urinary tract infection; while people, many of whom were your neighbors and/or long-time family friends, are just on the other side of the wall searching for you so they can rape and murder you. And then pretend that instead of walking of that bathroom after three months (weighing a mere 65 pounds, might I add), strengthened in your faith and actively forgiving those guilty of slaughtering your whole family.She attributes every stroke of fortune to God, and certainly some of the things that happen are truly miraculous, but it’s still hard, as a spiritual cynic who is still sitting on the fence, to not instinctively make arguments in that regard. However, this is neither the most appropriate time nor place for that debate. Suffice it to say that it feels like Ilibagiza is just short-changing herself - her persistence, resilience, and benevolence. One passage that really sticks out is, “I was living proof of the power of prayer and positive thinking, which really are almost the same thing. God is the source of all positive energy, and prayer is the best way to tap in to His power.” Is she pointing out or missing something that is so simple it is obvious?Call it karma, or divine intervention, or simply getting out what you put in, or whatever you want; the fact remains that Ilibagiza is certainly one of the most impressive and inspirational people I know of. Her story is honest, touching, and life-affirming; and readers can certainly learn something about love, equality, life, and passion from it, regardless of religion or race.

  • Kendra
    2019-03-23 15:17

    I have to be honest, I don't really want to read this book because it hurts my heart too much. I heard Immaculee speak at a banquet. I was captivated by her story (while I sobbed), and found myself marveling at how vastly different our life can be, even in our modern world. I recommend this book to everyone (even though I have not read it), because it is an unbeleiveable story. From what I have been told it is mildly graphic and horrific as she describes the massacre of her own family and the atrocities of the Rwandan genocides, but also inspiring as she describes the nightmare, how she survived it, and how she forgave and moved forward. Overall, it's a book about learning to forgive, and not letting hatred rule your life.

  • Amy J
    2019-04-08 15:52

    This book is much like "The Hiding Place" in its focus on forgiveness and God's love and support through such great trials. It is very difficult to get through, with details of the violence and horror that were a part of this genocide. Very disturbing. Most distressing to me though, was how much about this event I didn't know. It's hard to imagine that we live in a world where things like this happen, and we don't tune in or send help. I think of W. H. Auden's poem, "Musee des Beaux Arts," and I am ashamed.

  • Brooke
    2019-04-02 10:03

    For all the books I have read in my lifetime, none have touched me and inspired me and challenged my faith as this one. The reality and really words Ilibagiza uses to describe the horror that affected an entire country startled me. I cried through every chapter. I thought of God on every page. I'll never be the same after reading this book. Anyone who reads my review, read this book. Read it! Read it with a compassionate and open heart and your world will be changed.

  • Ron Wroblewski
    2019-04-15 10:06

    Marvelous personal story of her being saved from a massacre. I did meet her at a conference where Wayne Dyer was sponsoring her as a speaker.

  • Kimberly K
    2019-03-25 13:59

    Lost, stuck and nowhere to run. This is what was happening to the Tutsi's in the country of Rwanda. Everywhere they looked there was the Hutu killers swiping at them with machetes and rifles. Immaculee Ilibagiza takes us through her 91 day journey of being hunted because of what she was; a Tutsi. Through her journey she discovered God, who got her through the 91 days of being trapped in a tiny bathroom with 6 other women. Left to Tell would be a 4 out of 5 stars. It shows what she is feeling and I think that you can easily envision what is going on. Immaculee Ilibagiza writes her story as a movie. You can really picture what is going on and you can connect with her based on what she is feeling or how she uses her faith to keep her going. Publishers Weekly describes the book as “a precious addition to the literature that tries to make sense of humankind’s seemingly bottomless depravity and counterbalancing hope in an all-powerful, loving God”. I would take a star away because some parts of the book were bland or dry to read. I felt like i wanted to just skip ahead and just find out what happens next.The ending of the book reminds me of my life a little. I have been through rough patches and all but I have lived in the moment and kept faith close to me. Immaculee cherishes her faith throughout the whole book and that is what keeps her going. I understand her because when you're going through a tough time in your life, you may feel like there's nothing left for you. I have felt this way before but I rethought about it and got through the tough time. Immaculee didn’t want to keep living at first when she knew her family died but she turned to God for help and he gave her what she needed to get through all of this. Immaculee's faith has been tested throughout the whole book but it isn't until the end where it is truly tested. Immaculee says “My soul was at war with itself”(Ilibagiza 196). Faith is a big and challenging aspect in this book and it needs to be known. I believe loyalty is also an important aspect of this book and in life. There is loyalty shown throughout this book. Immaculee's brother, Damascene, shows his loyalty by not telling the killers where Immaculee was hiding. He then died by staying loyal to his sister.The pastor and Immaculee show loyalty by keeping their fate trusted in God. the pastor didn’t tell anyone about him hiding Tutsi's in his bathroom until the time came for it and they had to leave.There is a theme of forgiveness when Immaculee and the other women leave the bathroom and while there in the bathroom. When Immaculee reunites with a family friend, Jean Paul, she says “The genocide is happening in people’s hearts...The killers are good people, but right now evil has a hold on their hearts”(Ilibagiza 144). Immaculee would like to forgive the soldiers and the killers for all that they did but finds this hard to do after seeing the many graves of the Tutsi's that have been killed. She figures out that she will need to leave Rwanda in order for her to heal from this massacre. Immaculee realizes that she wants revenge on the Hutu killers, but she knows that is the evil of the devil lurking around in her. She realizes that “the people who’s hurt my family had hurt themselves even more, and they deserved my pity”( Ilibagiza 197). She gets rid of the hate in her and turns to God. Even though Immaculee shows vengeance and hatred towards the Hutu killers, she turns to God and asks “Fill me with the power of Your love and forgiveness,”(Ilibagiza 196). This part clearly demonstrates the central message: anyone and anything can learn to forgive.Immaculee relies on God when she needs it the most so she talks to him. At one point she says, “God, in the bible You said that You can do anything for anybody. Well, I am one of those anybodies and I need You to do something for me now”(Ilibagiza 78). Immaculee calls on God and hopes he hears her. God is her strength. The bible says “For we walk by faith, not by sight”(2 Corinthians 5:7). Immaculee does everything by her faith and not what she is seeing. The recurring theme in Left to Tell is to forgive and forget. Immaculee is saying “Thank you, God, for love that is beyond our understanding.’....From that night onward, my tears began to dry and my pain eased. I never agonized over the fate of my family. I accepted that I would always mourn and miss them, but I’d never spend another moment worrying about the misery they’d endured”(Ilibagiza 202). She is learning to forgive what happened to her family in the genocide but she will never forget.I would recommend Left To Tell because it takes you through a journey of faith, courage, leadership and of never giving up.I feel like adults would enjoy Left To Tell more because it talks about wars and killings. Young adults or kids may think it is boring because of the wars and so they wouldn’t read it for fun or to learn or understanding they would just read it to read it. I would compare it to the modern day movies that have come out like “Patriot’s Day” or people like “Anne Frank”. Sometimes the best thing to do is forgive and forget.

  • Vibhavari Nagarhalli
    2019-03-28 10:58

    I am speechless.. Overwhelmed with emotions... Unable to fathom the mindless violence that people like Immaculee and countless others have faced are facing and may face... Struck with her positivity, spirituality and forgiveness.. Wish humanity and love will triumph over every evil that threatens the human fabric.. No words.. Will take time to sink in..

  • Tami
    2019-04-08 12:15

    Incredible account of how this woman was sustained (and blessed) through prayer during the atrocities of ethnic cleansing and civil war while hiding in a crowded small bathroom with very little to eat. Here is a thought from Elder Holland (fireside address, "Lessons from Liberty Jail", September 2008) that I thought went along well with the overall message of the book..."...when you have to, you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in any situation you are in. Indeed, let me say that even a little stronger: You can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life—in the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced.Now let’s talk about those propositions for a moment. Every one of us, in one way or another, great or small, dramatic or incidental, is going to spend a little time in Liberty Jail—spiritually speaking. We will face things we do not want to face for reasons that may not have been our fault. Indeed, we may face difficult circumstances for reasons that were absolutely right and proper, reasons that came because we were trying to keep the commandments of the Lord. We may face persecution; we may endure heartache and separation from loved ones; we may be hungry and cold and forlorn. Yes, before our lives are over we may all be given a little taste of what the prophets faced often in their lives. But the lessons of the winter of 1838–39 teach us that every experience can become a redemptive experience if we remain bonded to our Father in Heaven through that difficulty. These difficult lessons teach us that man’s extremity is God’s opportunity, and if we will be humble and faithful, if we will be believing and not curse God for our problems, He can turn the unfair and inhumane and debilitating prisons of our lives into temples—or at least into a circumstance that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace."

  • Katia Guezi
    2019-03-29 14:14

    Ce témoignage est juste impossible à noter pour moi, je ne peux donner une étoile ou cinq étoiles à une femme qui a vécu un génocide et qui s'est reconstruite avec force et acharnement... Tout au long de cette lecture (Je lisais la plupart du temps dans les transport, autant vous dire que j'ai craqué à plusieurs reprises), j'avais la gorge nouée, et une rage au ventre... Je ne pouvais m'empercher de me dire que ces atrocités ont eux lieux en 1994, qu'encore en 2017 y a un génocide qui se perpétue sous nos yeux.... Je n'ai pas pu m’empêcher de faire le lien aussi à la décennie noir qui a eu lieu en Algérie....Tout le monde doit lire ce bouquin, pour ressentir ce que c'est qu'un génocide, ce que c'est que de voir toute sa famille décapitée.... Pour un monde meilleur, pour un monde sans sang versé, sans haine....

  • Rodney
    2019-04-13 08:10

    Plain an simple - She told the story the only way she could. For a reader like me, I was already vested in the political atrocities of Africa and I wanted the book to explore this further. How did Rowanda get into this situation? Why does colonialism break people down into various classes by education, skin tone, etc..?Also, the blatant commercialization of the story. I enjoy a little Wayne Dyer from time to time, but holy crapshoot batman, they hijacked this story. Her faith had to be strong and clearly with the incidents that transpired.. she had to believe in something out of this world.So, did I like the book? I'm glad she told the story, but I'm concerned for the unsuspecting soul who picks this up just to get a religious high. I just don't want people to think.. if you pray hard, have positive thinking.. things will work out for you. Clearly, many people died including her parents, brothers, little children (born and unborn)..Were they any less religious as Immaculee? for those who could, I'm sure they were just as religious and faithful has her.. I think Steve Erwin could have helped to tell this story better.

  • Eszter
    2019-04-07 10:03

    The story was inspiring, and gut wrenching on what was being done to her. However after the first part (there are three in total), it becomes less of a survivor's tale, and more of a religious text. I have no problems that are religious, but in this case, when she throws away all common sense and rationality (the devil whisper's in her ear trying to obliterate her faith, her husband is sent by God due to her descriptions etc.), is a bit too over the top for me.I found her story sad, and her ability to forgive the people around her inspiring, as she didn't allow hate to continue the violent cycle in Rwanda, however throughout the whole story she seemed to be more controlled by God than influenced by Him, and it was a bit too religious and her writing very childlike - for lack of a better word- (though explainable by the fact that English is her third language, I believe). But I still feel she could use similes, as the word "beautiful" was in there too often for my taste. But all in all, an okay read; the first part being my favourite out of the three.

  • Kathleen
    2019-03-29 14:09

    I had this book from a postal book club I'm a part of, and I intended to pick it up and read a chapter or two until I could get another book I was waiting on. Well - I couldn't stop reading it. I honestly knew NOTHING about the Rwandan genocide in the mid 1990's and I am simply HORRIFIED. I cried multiple times during this book, and felt like I would be sick as well. Immaculee told her story in a straightforward manner; the writing was simple but heartfelt, like I was sitting down with her and listening to her talk. But the events that happened in that country made my heart hurt, and I am so, so sad about all the evil that took place. Her beautiful family! How I loved them.Despite the unspeakable horror that took over that nation, Immaculee offers an amazing story of fortitude, faith, and forgiveness. God protected her in a multitude of miraculous ways during the genocide, but the story of her inner spiritual life was just as riveting. I am so glad I read this, and I recommend it to ANYONE.