In her memoir Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, Immaculée Ilibagiza endures horrific tragedies as everyone around her is viciously killed by Hutus during Rwanda’s genocide. In the course of just three months she loses almost everyone that she loves except her oldest brother, Aimable. However, despite everything that she goes through, Immaculée forgives the Hutus that wronged her and changed her life forever. Immaculée did not forgive for the good of others but rather for herself. It would do her no good to hold on to her negative feelings for the rest of her life as they would continue to eat at her. With the help of her extreme devotion to God she was able to let go and move on with her life, but without forgetting what had happened to her, her family, and many of the people that were close to her. Without her love for God, she would not have survived living in the bathroom for so long. It was very hard for her to forgive those that trespassed against her, and almost unimaginable to readers that she had the ability to do so, but it was the right thing for her to do.
Even when Immaculée was younger and her life was virtually perfect growing up she was a devout Roman Catholic and felt close to God. “I loved praying, going to church, and everything else to do with God. I especially loved the Virgin Mary, believing that she was my second mom, watching out for me from heaven. I didn’t know why, but praying made me feel warm and happy” (Ilibagiza 6). Praying to God was always second nature for Immaculée and a part of who she was. At a young age she agreed with her father when she was told that one could never pray too much. She worshiped her parents almost as much as she worshiped God and learned to have a good heart from the influence of their beliefs.
It was not even until she attended high school that Immaculée knew that people were separated by being in two main different tribes. “They [her parents] were not prejudiced; rather, they believed that evil drove people to do evil things regardless of tribe or race. Mom and Dad ignored the social and political reality they lived in, and instead taught that everyone was born equal” (Ilibagiza 16). The scenes that Immaculée shares with the reader at the beginning of her memoir of the happier days of her youth provide a sound foundation for the further development of her faith later when things take a turn for the worst after she goes to university.
When Immaculée is first hidden in the secret bathroom of Pastor Murinzi’s house it is almost ironic that with all of her faith that she has in God, she cannot completely trust the man that shares God’s word. He holds the fate of her life in his hands, and there is nothing that she can do about it. In the beginning she fears that he may have other motives for hiding women in his room other than for the sole purpose of keeping them safe. Over the course of the next couple weeks she and her fellow Tutsi women have no choice but to trust...