Monday, November 10, 2008

Left To Tell - Let's Not Repeat History

Left toTell
Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust
by Immaculee Ilibagiza

I tried to swallow, but my throat closed up. I had no saliva, and my mouth was drier than sand. I closed my eyes and tried to make myself disappear, but their voices grew louder. I knew that they would show no mercy, and my mind echoed one thought: If they catch me me, they will kill me. If they catch me, they will kill me...

I don't normally read autobiographies, but this one, although sad and gut-wrenching to read, was an inspiring first person account of one refugee's struggle to survive and through the will of God, did.

In 1994, in the country of Rwanda one ethnic group, the Hutus, went about cleansing the country of the Tutsi minority, neighbors turned on neighbors, in a six month rash of such brutal killings, such debauchery, that I can't believe this all went on the year my first son was born. The United States, and many other countries looked the other way. Finally the French helped them but not before 100's of thousands of Tutsi were killed. Families completely wiped off the face of the Earth.

Immaculee's family was one of them. Before the genocide, as she calls it, their family did well. They had their own house, a car, a motorcycle. Her father owned land, was a farmer and businessman. She and her three brothers all went to university, were all educated and were doing well when this began. She was nineteen. Her story is an inspiring one of undaunted courage and faith in God. I recommend it to anyone interested in obtaining a world view of how an abuse of power can lead to the justified annihilation of almost an entire race and how even one person can defy the odds.

Racism and hate is still alive and well in the world, festering in the sores of the disenchanted; the angry. It even lives in our own country. While I am proud that our next president is an African American (according to some that's the only reason I voted for him), I am concerned for his safety. Even the editor of our local paper discussed it yesterday.

Some conservative blogs have compared Obama to Osama bin Laden, a Nazi, Hitler, even. He's not my President, they say. One site was encouraging people to hang their flags upside down in response to his winning. Text messages were sent telling everyone to wear black to signify the death of our nation. I found the horrific picture below.

All this from people who probably claim to love our country. It disgusts me. If McCain had won, while I would have been disappointed, I would still be proud of the great country we live in. A country that allows free speech even in the form of what I consider racist, anti-American rants from sore losers, who if they aren't careful, are going to incite just enough rage to fuel another skinhead out there with a plan.

In the 1830's, Andrew Jackson meant to squelch an uprising by an unruly state of South Carolina who meant to nullify some federal laws. "Disunion by armed force is treason," he said. "Are you really ready to incur its guilt?"

And so, to some of you out there I ask, Are you?


Ben and Christina said...

I saw Hotal Rwanda and it broke my heart- I might have to try this book as well. It makes me very grateful to live here in America, even though we do have problems here.

Bryce and Mandy said...

Sounds like an interesting book. I didn't even know about anything happening there.

As for the comments some people have made about Obama, I am completely appalled! I can't believe these things come from seemingly rational people. I would expect to see something like that on a KKK or skinhead site. It is just scary such hateful things are being said. It does make me fear for Obama's life. If just everyday people are saying things like this imagine what the extremists are saying. You know, the ones who actually carry out their hateful plans.

I also find it a little ridiculous when some people say they don't think racism exists in America today. It is nothing like it was (or at least I hope not) but my first question to them would be, are you African American? If you aren't then how can you know that for certain? If I heard it from an African American I would believe that statement a lot more.

okbushmans said...

Extremism in all it's forms is frightening. Anyone who promotes such hate is evil. Race is not the only factor that brings out such bigotry or maliciousness. I believe it is a two headed monster, which attacks race and religion. I hope that those of us who did support McCain, and who now support our President, will not be categorized as apart of those extremes.

Lula O said...

Okbushman, I in no way categorize you with those extremes. You've been very respectful; intelligent people always are. I hope I have been the same.

Both parties have their sit-at-the-computer-all-day crazies. As far as Democrats go, I just don't remember it being this bad when Clinton was elected. Obama's win seems to be creating more malicious talk, of course Al Gore had only just invented the internet then.:) Not everyone could use their computer as a sounding board, to spread the good and the bad. So like you addressed in an earlier post, does all this new media make it better or worse for those elected? Does it also add to their safety concerns?

okbushmans said...

I think the technology makes it worse all the way around. I saw on the news them broadcasting the code names for the Pres. elect and his wife that the Secret Service are using. Why would the general public need to know that? Their movements are so easily tracked, every thing made public, and so easily accessible now. And the crazies have free domains on the internet to promote their racist propoganda and communicate with those with the same viewpoints. So I think the Obama's safety is in more jeopardy now, than a President and his family ever before. I PRAY nothing horrible happens to them or our country (especially after the latest intelligence leak about Bin Laden saying there will be another, and more devastating attack than 9-11). And thanks for not grouping me in with the right-wing nutties.