Left To Tell!
"I heard the killers call my name. They were on the other side of the wall, less than an inch of plaster and wood separated us. Their voices were cold, hard, and determined. 'She's here - we know she's here somewhere - Find her. Find Immaculée.' There were many voices, many killers. I could see them in my mind: my former friends and neighbors, who had always greeted me with love and kindness, moving through the house carrying spears and machetes and calling my name. 'I have killed 399 cockroaches,' said one of the killers. 'Immaculée will make 400. It's a good number to kill.'"
- excerpt from Left To Tell
"Forgiveness is all I have to offer."
- Immaculée Ilibagiza
This week, The Weekly Beet reports on an incredible woman's story of surviving the 1994 Rwandan holocaust. Mary Kent interviews her hero, Immaculée Ilibagiza, revealing how such a horrific experience truly changed her life!
Left To Tell is the miraculous and inspiring story of Rwandan, Immaculée Ilibagiza, who for 91 days she and seven other women silently sat hiding in the bathroom of a local pastor waiting for the killing to come to an end. With more than a million Tutsi people slaughtered, Immaculée's survival proves that a power much greater than ourselves exists to guide us towards healing and in her case Left To Tell a life-changing story. It is in Immaculée's strength when she faces and forgives the Hutu person responsible for massacring members of her Tutsi family that we truly understand the spiritual message that her experience is meant to teach. Twenty-two years old at the time, Immaculée is a walking testimony of the powers of prayer, forgiveness, and positive thinking and it is our hope that her story will enlighten and inspire you, as much as it did us!
We are so thrilled to share with you The Beet's interview with the immaculate Immaculée:
Mary Kent: Immaculée, words can not express how honored I am to be speaking with you today. I first learned of your book, while in London. I received an email from Hay House, saw your photo, and was immediately drawn to your story. I read further what Wayne Dyer had to say about you and was very anxious to read your book. The local English book store had just received a copy of your book, so I hurried to pick it up and could not put it down! When I finished Left To Tell, I was so deeply moved by your message that I knew I had to write a Beet on your story.
Immaculée: Thank you. Thank you.
Mary Kent: You have given me, as well as thousands of people around the world, hope in a world that is very troubled at the moment and I just feel so strongly about passing your message along. You are a testimony of courage, strength, and faith, and my hope is to express that to my readers today. Your story is so beautiful and touching that I have not been the same after reading it.
Immaculée: Thank you.
Mary Kent: Could you just give us a brief description of what was going on prior to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda? Was Rwanda a Belgian Colony, part of the former Belgian Congo?
Immaculée: Yes, Rwanda became a Belgian Colony and I believe that was the beginning of all the troubles. The Belgians didn't know what they were doing, and as a result our country became extremely divided. The Hutus and the Tutsi were the two main tribes. However, before the Belgians came, Rwanda was a monarchy with one language, one culture, and one religion. But, when the Belgians arrived, they issued identity cards, trying to ethnically organize the country. Because of Belgian favoritism, Tutsi became the ruling power and the Hutu became the lower class. This created serious inequality between the
Mary Kent: There had already been a revolution in Rwanda in the 50's.
Immaculée: Yes, the Hutu overthrew the ruling Tutsi King who was in power.
Mary Kent: Where did all of the machetes come from that were used to kill all the Tutsi?
Immaculée: It was all very organized by the Hutus. The Hutus killed their own, who was president at the time, knowing that he would not allow the killing of so many Tutsi. The Hutus planned and ordered the massive killing. It was all a matter of power.
Mary Kent: When I read your book, I just could not believe the anger and hatred that the Hutu felt towards the Tutsi. They shouted "kill them big, kill them small, kill them, kill them, kill them all!"
Immaculée: Yes, they were very, very angry. I believe people are just so lost and really have lost their faith. It is a result of not believing in anything anymore because people are restless and in pain.
Mary Kent: How did it feel to have your friend, who was a Hutu, turn on you?
Immaculée: It was so hard. It was really awful.
Mary Kent: And what happened to your best friend from school named Clementine?
Immaculée: The Hutu killed her. I had left school a few days before and if I had been there I would have been killed too.
Mary Kent: How did you come to write your book?
Immaculée: I never knew how to write a book. I was just a girl from Africa and I was still learning the English language. I knew I had a message within so I asked God to help me. Two days after the book was finished, I met Wayne Dyer. I remember the date was April 3rd. That day was a miracle for me! I realized when you want something, don't question how! Just do it. If you have a dream, just do it. Remember just how powerful God is. We must work on our trust, be humble, and allow God to do the rest.
Mary Kent: Yes. I just love in the book how you say "if you believe you receive." You are definitely an example of this! Also, in your book, you tell us that your last name, Ilibagiza, means beautiful in body and soul, but what does your first name mean?
Immaculée: My parents were both Christian and so very hopeful of me. It was their best wish as I was their only girl to give me a beautiful name. Immaculée comes from the Virgin Mary, which is clean, perfect, and pure. I think my parents had big plans for me when they named me this.
Mary Kent: It really is such a fitting name! I believe that God had big plans for you too.
Immaculée: Yes. (humbly laughing)
Mary Kent: Is there anything you would like to tell readers of The Weekly Beet?
Immaculée: There is hope no matter what you are going through in your life. There is nothing to be desperate over. It's just a matter of learning to surrender and to let go. It's about seeing how God can control your life for the best, not how you can. We are all equally part of this whole game we call life. It's time for us to say we trust in God and to allow him to take over.
Mary Kent: Thank you so very much for your time today. I am just so happy that this interview was made possible!
Immaculée: It was my pleasure. Please let me know if you come to one of my appearances. I would love to meet you.
A special thank you to Immaculée Ilibagiza. Click here to learn about her fund that is helping the children of Rwanda. Don't miss a Beet. Stay tuned for next week.
PPS. Check out Page Ostrow founder of Ostrow and Company on Ladies Who Launch.
Photos from the Left To Tell website.