Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In 1994, Rwandan native Ilibagiza was 22 years old and home from college to spend Easter with her devout Catholic family, when the death of Rwanda’s Hutu president sparked a three-month slaughter of nearly one million ethnic Tutsis in the country. She survived by hiding in a Hutu pastor’s tiny bathroom with seven other starving women for 91 cramped, terrifying days. This searing firsthand account of Ilibagiza’s experience cuts two ways: her description of the evil that was perpetrated, including the brutal murders of her family members, is soul-numbingly devastating, yet the story of her unquenchable faith and connection to God throughout the ordeal uplifts and inspires. Her account of the miracles that protected her is simple and vivid. Her Catholic faith shines through, but the book will speak on a deep level to any person of faith. Ilibagiza’s remarkable path to forgiving the perpetrators and releasing her anger is a beacon to others who have suffered injustice. She brings the battlefield between good and evil out of the genocide around her and into her own heart, mind and soul. This book is 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. (Mar.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

General Description (from Amazon.com)
Immaculee Ilibagizagrew 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.

Why the President Should Read This Book
Every generation sees that which came before it as ancient history. Thus, books like Night portray events that seem distant, hazy, and untouchable to those born since WWII, and especially to those whose parents were born since WWII. It is critical for our leaders to be aware that the evil of the Nazis did not end with Hitler’s death, that genocide is alive and well even in our day. What should our President have done about the genocide in Rwanda? This book does not answer that question, but knowing the face of evil is part of defeating it.

Personal Notes
When I read this book I found it hard to believe. I still find it hard to believe. How could people do to one another what is described in this book? How could anyone come out of it a sane person? And yet it did happen, and Immaculee’s life and this story is a testament to the ability of the human spirit to triumph over incredible suffering.