Monday, May 29, 2017

My Father, Maker of the Trees, by Eric Irivuzumugabe

Eric Irivuzumugabe endured experiences in his childhood that most Westerners could not imagine even in a nightmare. In My Father, Maker of the Trees: How I Survived the Rwandan Genocide, Eric writes of his enduring the short-lived reign of terror by the Hutus in Rwanda and the ravaged the country to eradicate the Tutsi "cockroaches."  

Readers may be familiar with the fact that  the division between the two tribes was not historically an issue, until Belgian colonial leaders superimposed the distinction on them as a means of control. They designated the Hutus as the ruling tribe, despite their smaller numbers, to help maintain control over the Tutsis.  After colonialization ended, the distinction remained. For the most part, the two tribes lived side by side, even intermarrying. But on three occasions, the Hutus acted genocidally. The third, in which Eric lost his family, was the most widespread and devastating. Eric's first-hand account is horrific and sobering. His perspective as a child enduring these events is invaluable. 

Besides the historical value of his account, I found his attitude of faith and forgiveness to be inspiring. His willingness and passion to forgive the Tutsis who murdered his family and tens of thousands more exceeds my understanding. Most of us will never be faced with the choice to offer forgiveness in similar circumstances, but we can learn from his example. As he hid from the marauding bands of Tutsis, he knew the maker of the trees in which he sat had a larger plan and purpose for his life. May we all find faith in and reliance on our Heavenly Father as he did. 

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