Monday, June 22, 2009

Left To Tell and Bob Marley

Left To Tell

This book is a hard read. In comparison to Glass Castle, it doesn’t flow as well as Ms. Wells’s honed writing abilities and humor. Unless you count the times she enjoyed joking with her family before the war started.

Immaculee Ilgibaza survived a Genocide in her home country of Rwanda in 1994 and English is her 3rd language so we will be lenient even though she had someone help her translate. She taught herself with a French/English dictionary in the 3 by 4 foot bathroom belonging to a Pastor in her community that she shared with 6 other Tutsi tribe women. There is no rhyme or reason in the genocide so the jutting details are taken in stride.

The women stayed in the quaint bathroom for 90 days. Although a shower was right above them, they couldn't use it because the family would know they were there. The pastor ws the only one to know their location. They had to wait to flush the toilet when antoher person in the houe flushed on the other side.

“Luckily” they were Tutsi so they inherited tall genes to help the close living quarters. One of the ways the tribe of Hutus could tell them from others then use their machetes to take their lives. Rare opportunities for the pastor to get food into them, the tall 115 ppound Imaculee wasted to a mere 65 pounds. the others suffered weight loss which fortunate for them provided more moving room. But a bony bum is not more comfy on hard floor.

Her life is unbelievable even before the genocide started, from pushing herself hard in her studies Her parents, whom were both teachers, taught her from a young age that it didn’t matter what tribe she was from and held from her the terror that surrounded until she hit 7th grade and her extremist teacher role called each week to remind everyone which tribe they were from.

Amazingly the atrocities didn’t make me cry until the end. Yes, I went slack jawed and would have to put the book down for minute then take it up again. Maybe why I could read it so boldly, is because of her heroic way of dealing with sitting on a hard bathroom floor day in and day out in the same clothes and no shower while lice crawled across the sorry groups faces; where her mind went – To God, then rejoicing with her being able to obtain a dictionary while her companions, glazy eyed, looked off into the air.

I ached though when she prayed that the rich western countries would come to her aide.
As far as I know, we didn’t do much of anything. I graduated the year she was in the bathroom and the worst of my woes was being separated from my HS Sweetheart.
Pleading to God as she overheard the Pastor’s radio; sending propaganda over the radio waves. Hands clasped for hours on end for someone to come.

Had I even known I don’t know what I would have done to help her. But now I do know.
It has propelled me to better myself; trying to find forgiveness in myself for those who harmed her, let alone those who I think have made offense to me.

She makes a strong case for forgiveness.

I won’t go further, but it is a must read. Just a head’s up, when I called the local library I was number 14 in line to read it. It took me two days to read. But my reading time is going to be very limited as of tonight. While I wrote this song, I had to pull up Bob Marley up on You Tube. His song of No Woman Don’t Cry came to me. The version from 1979 at Amandla stadium is particularly good. So read the book then watch that version of his song. He brings her plight and others to life. After a good wallow in sadness, listen to 3 little birds to shed your worries!

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