Amazing Story-Immaculee Ilibagiza

I was listening to Wanye Dyer’s Inspiration when he started talking about the 1994 Rwandan massacre. One million people died. One percent of the Tutsis women in the country survived. At the time the massacre started I was in Costa Rica – insulated from the world by Spanish television and the rain forest. Yet, news of the white Ford Bronco and OJ’s chase made it through; news of Rwanda did not. Even afterwards, I willfully remained ignorant of the full magnitude of the situation, it was too painful. I even rented “Hotel Rwanda” but never watched it. I had not realized the magnitude of the massacre, the completeness of the killing and the horror of people turning on their neighbors. Neighbors that they had grown up with – taught, married, and loved. But out of this wretched time, Dyer told the story of Immaculee Ilibagiza, a tutsis woman who survived 91 days in the cramped bathroom of a pastor’s house shared with seven other women. During that time she prayed, learned english but could never speak. Her family and school friends were massacred. The amazing thing is that she came out of this ordeal with not hatred and vengeance but only forgiveness and love. She had seen through the hatred and killing and connected to something a great deal more powerful. Shortly, after she had been released, she had to walk to the safety of a refugee camp. A few hundred meters from safety she was met by a machete wielding killer. At 68 lbs, with rank clothing and bones sticking out , she was no match for the hatred filled man. Yet, when confronted by her absolute calm, love and forgiveness, he dropped his machete. This I think is a real connection with God or spirit — no righteous vengeance, no smiting of enemies but pure and simple acceptance and love. I am looking forward to reading her book.

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2 responses to “Amazing Story-Immaculee Ilibagiza

  1. D'Arcy Norman December 20, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    I was back here in “civilization” and got to watch the white bronco live from 47 helicopter cameras, then on replay 24/7 for weeks afterward.

    Our media is geared to get ratings in order to sell advertising. It’s easy to sell ads when you’re showing a Big Football/Movie Star falling from grace right in front of the camera. Much harder to sell ads when you’re showing images of genocide and presenting viewers with a moral imperative. They find it easier to just hit “channel +” to get to the next channel. Because there, they might find the white bronco. Or Survivor. Or Dances with the Stars. Or Jerry Springer, etc…

    People remember the Holocaust of WW2 and say “never again” then sit idly by when it happens again. And again. Because it interrupts their regularly scheduled viewing.

    We’re seeing a similar thing with global warming. It’s a tree-hugger eco-hippie issue now, but in 50 years, hundreds of millions of people could be dying as a result (the himalayan glaciers will be gone, and they feed about half of the rivers in that part of the world) Think oil wars are scary? Wait for the water wars…

    Wait. No. Anna Nicole Smith is on TV. Something about getting billions from her dead grampa/husband. gotta go…

  2. Pingback: untitled « Incredible Visions

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