Last night I started the book Left to Tell by Imaculee Ilibagiza. It's been in my "to read" pile for over a year. I finished it the morning. I couldn't put the book down. It is the story of how she not only survived but also how her faith in a loving God increased during the genocide in Rwanda.
Ilibagiza lost her parents, 2 of her brothers (the only surviving brother was at university in Senegal during the genocide), and most of her extended family. She huddled in silence in a 3' x 4' bathroom with 6 other women and children for 91 days. They were then sent to a camp run by French soldiers who later abandoned the refugees on the road in the midst of armed bands of Hutu killers. Miraculously they made it to a rebel Tutsi camp. When the peace was restored she briefly returned to her home and buried the bodies of her mother and oldest brother who, like nearly 1 million others, had been hacked to death. She looked into the eyes of the man who killed her family and who hunted for her by name ("Where is Imaculee? I have killed 399. She will be 400!") and she forgave him though he hadn't even asked for her forgiveness. She continues to insist that forgiveness will be the only way Rwanda and the rest of the world will find true healing.
Corrie Ten Boom
Martin Luther King, Jr.
These are people who have all adhered to nonviolence and insisted that we must not return evil for evil, that we must return good. They are all people who truly lived by those words when the cost was greater than you or I can conceive. Ten Boom and Ilibagiza take their example from Christ who spoke from the cross, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do." King learned from both Christ's example and that of Gandhi, a Hindu who had studied many world religions and come to the conclusion that the compassion and nonviolence were at the core of each of them.
I stand in awe of people like this and I simply have nothing else I can say that would be meaningful, but I have much to ponder.