By: An Trinh
Background on the Rwandan Holocaust
Tensions between the Hutus and the Tutsis started "When the Belgian colonists arrived in 1916, they produced identity cards classifying people according to their ethnicity" ("Rwanda").
"When the Tutsis called for greater independence, the Belgians turned against them and, in 1959, encouraged a bloody Hutu revolt, which overthrew the monarchy...By the time Belgium pulled out of Rwanda in 1962, a Hutu government was firmly in place, and Tutsis had become second-class citizens, facing persecution, violence, and death at the hands of Hutu extremists" (Ilibagiza Left to Tell).
As a result, the genocide began on April 7th, 1994, throughout the country of Rwanda.
Family of Tutsis Murdered: A Survivor Left to Tell
How Has Immaculée Ilibagiza's Views on Her Country and Her People Changed after the Rwandan Holocaust?
In April 1994, a Tutsi family of six were murdered in Rwanda. The father, mother, and two brothers were killed, but one daughter, Immaculée Ilibagiza, and one son, Amiable Ntukanyagwe, survived. During the genocide, Immaculée hid in a bathroom for 91 days and after in an interview she says, "I know that Rwanda can heal herself if each heart learns the lesson of forgiveness. Tens of thousands who were jailed for killing during the genocide are starting to be released into their old towns and villages, so if there was ever a time for forgiveness, it is now. Rwanda can be a paradise again, but it will take the love of the entire world to heal my homeland" (Ilibagiza Left to Tell). "She also later came face to face with the killer of her mother and her brother and said the unthinkable, 'I forgive you'" (Ilibagiza "Immaculée's Story"). Now Immaculée is an author and travels around the world to speak about forgiveness.
Picture of the Family
From left to right: Leonard Ukulikiyinkindi (father), Marie Rose Kankindi (mother), Amiable Ntukanyagwe (oldest brother), Damascene Jean Muhirwa (second oldest brother), Immaculée Ilibagiza (third child and only daughter), John Marie Vianney (youngest brother)
A survivor from the Rwandan Holocaust; author of Left to Tell
Top far right: brother of Immaculée Ilibagiza; also a survivor from the Rwandan Holocaust
Picture of the Family
Ilibagiza, Immaculée, and Steve Erwin. Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 2006. Print.
Ilibagiza, Immaculée. "Immaculée's Story." Immaculée. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2016. <http://www.immaculee.com/about/story.php>.
"Rwanda: How the Genocide Happened - BBC News." BBC News. BBC, 17 May 2011. Web. 08 Feb. 2016. <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13431486>.