The Power of Forgiveness: An Interview with Immaculee Ilibagiza

“Immaculee Ilibagiza was at home for Easter with her family when Hutu death squads began a three month killing spree of more than a million Tutsis across the nation. Immaculee’s entire family(with the exception of one brother) was murdered, but she managed to find a hiding place in the packed 3X4 foot bathroom of a local pastor, along with seven other women. She, and the others, spent 91 days there entering at 115 pounds and emerging at 68. However, she found life in the dark, building an undaunted relationship with God and learning English only using a bible and a dictionary. She began to realize the power of unconditional love so powerful that it might forgive her family’s killers. In the wake of the horrors, she joined the UN and moved to New York four years later. She recorded her amazing story in the 2006 memoir Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, a New York Times Best Seller and an account of the power of faith in the most unlikely circumstances.”


Immaculée Ilibagiza shared her very moving personal story of her suffering due to the Rwanda genocide. The video and interview showed the full horror of violence and how violence breeds a spiralling increase within conflicts as fears grow. The role of the Pastor demonstrated for the students watching, the capacity of human beings to step out of the chaos around them and make a different choice. The courage this person showed will be an ingredient towards forgiveness for those he helped and those that witnessed his bravery. Immaculee had a strong message of the need for forgiveness and her ability to forgive. She also underlined the importance of the genocide being acknowledged and the remembrance of this being central to the needs of the victims.

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