Matt Evans's Reviews > Left to Tell: One Woman's Story of Surviving the Rwandan Holocaust

Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza
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Jul 16, 08


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.
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