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Left to Tell.

LEFT TO TELL By Immaculee Ilibagiza with Steve Erwin (Hay House, 2006)

Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust is an inspiring story of how tragic circumstances can transform the human spirit. In devout Catholic Immaculee Ilibagiza's situation, the transformation was a deepened faith and lessons in forgiveness.

Ilibagiza, a Rwandan Tutsi, came home from college during Easter break in 1994 to spend time with her deeply religious and dose-knit family. Their lives were abruptly torn apart when the Hutu militia Interahamwe and ordinary Hutu citizens began the genocide of an estimated 1 million Tutsis.

Ilibagiza sought refuge at a local Hutu pastor's house, who hid her and seven other Tutsi women in his bathroom for three months. Their hiding place was concealed by a huge wardrobe that covered the door to the bathroom in the pastor's bedroom.

Ilibagiza does a superb job of drawing you into her world by giving vivid accounts of her most terrifying moments during the genocide. Her rosary became her lifeline to God, and she prayerfully dung to it whenever she heard angry Hutus searching the pastor's house with hopes of finding Tutsis to kill. The Hums never discovered the women's hiding place, and Ilibagiza convinces you that her prayers were a shield protecting the bathroom.

This book is a powerful guide to forgiveness. Ilibagiza's parents and two brothers were killed in the genocide, leaving only Ilibagiza and her oldest brother. She reveals her human side as she initially ponders acts of revenge and hatred, but she eventually forgave her family's murderers.

She reflects in the book: "Being in that bathroom had become a blessing for which I'd be forever thankful. Even if my parents had perished in the bloodshed outside, I would never be an orphan. I'd been born again in the bathroom and was now the loving daughter of God, my Father."
COPYRIGHT 2006 Claretian Publications
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Jackson-Hall, Anita
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Book review
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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