Immaculee Ilibagiza: A Rwandan Genocide Survivor’s Story

On Monday, December 12, 2013, the University of Colorado at Boulder invited Immaculee Ilibagiza, Rwandan author and motivational speaker, to tell her story of how she survived the 1994 Rwandan genocide, found God, and came to forgive those who murdered her family.

She started off her presentation with a short video which introduced the beautiful country of Rwanda, showing off several landscapes throughout the country. The video then transitioned into the beginning of her story starting with the shooting down of the Rwandan president’s airplane and then, within one hour, the entire country turning into a mass of chaos.

She then proceeds to tell her personal story. Being brought over to her father’s friend’s home by her father, knowing she will never see him again. Being put into a 3′ x 4′ bathroom with 7 other women, almost being discovered by the rebels, and having to stay in said bathroom for 91 days before being let out. Part way through her concealment in the bathroom she had become an active believer of God, to which she believes is the reason she is still alive today.

Immaculee’s story was very heartfelt and emotion. On occasion I found myself welling up in tears and even some of the people around me were crying. She had told a beautiful story and even after all the terror she had gone through came to the decision to forgive her offenders and even met them face-to-face and consoled them. “We are not given the chance to decide what race we were born to, who our family is, or even what country we will live in. Anger is a poison. We need to learn to love ourselves so that we can come to love others.”

 

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