Faith and Forgiveness with Immaculee Ilibagiza

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I needed to be willing. I am willing god, I am willing but how?, words from Immaculee Ilibagiza during a women’s conference called the Catholic Diocese of Arlington in 2017. She is now a respected and successful woman whom gives forgiveness talks and speeches all around the world. Immaculee lived through one of the world’s most terrifying events and in my eyes, is the true meaning of the American dream.

Aside from all tragedies she was put through, she was able to overcome it through the grace of god and her self-strength. For example, I had to have faith that God would help us; otherwise, why would we endure all the suffering, anguish, and betrayal?” (Ilibagiza, 2006). This is the first occasion when Immaculee approaches God to give herself and others the courage to keep fighting. It foretells how she will depend on God in the months to come. She composes that she needed to have faith, which demonstrates that, for her and the reader, there was no other feasible option. Without the confidence in God she would’ve most likely not have possessed the capacity to keep her soul and faith unbroken throughout the circumstances her and the others were put through.

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According to the dictionary, the word forgive means stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake. Now, the genocide changed millions of lives in Rwanda and internationally, the few survivors grew hatred and distrust in everyone and anything because of what they were put through but in Immaculee’s case, she learned to forgive the event and the soldiers who carried out the horrendous occurrence, even the people who were responsible for her family’s death. The genocide even stretched out to a point where Immaculee envied the birds and other creatures that had the freedom to roam freely in comparison to the humans being dehumanized and killed abruptly. She states when morning broke, the birds in the pastor’s shade

tree began singing. I was jealous of them, thinking, how lucky you are to have been born birds and have freedom (Ilibagiza, 2006).

This statement also demonstrates the start of the second thoughts and misfortunes that will frequent Immaculee all through and after the huge tragedy. It demonstrates the delicacy of peace and how rapidly everything can change.

It is difficult to say who is to blame for the genocide, in my opinion, the event took careful planning and grouping. I do believe one perhaps had the idea of the cleansing but it was much group thinking and it took time for this to be carried out. There is still much debate on who and what it carried but the genocide was a combination of many events and not just a single one.

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