Left to Tell

by

Immaculée Ilibagiza

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Damascene Character Analysis

Damascene is Immaculée’s second oldest brother, and the person to whom she is the closest—she describe him as her “soul mate.” Intelligent, funny, charming, and righteous, Damascene earns a master’s degree at a young age and works as a history teacher. During the genocide, he seeks refuge with his Hutu friend Bonn and attempts to flee to Zaire, but he is eventually betrayed by members of Bonn’s family. He is murdered by killers who taunt him about his intelligence, but he remains defiant and dignified in his final moments.

Damascene Quotes in Left to Tell

The Left to Tell quotes below are all either spoken by Damascene or refer to Damascene. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Hay House edition of Left to Tell published in 2006.
Chapter 18 Quotes

Damascene managed to get to his feet one more time, and then he smiled at the killers. His fearlessness confused them—they'd murdered many Tutsis and always enjoyed listening to their victims plead for their lives. Damascene's composure robbed them of that pleasure. Instead of negotiating or begging for mercy, he challenged them to kill him. “Go ahead,” he said. “What are you waiting for? Today is my day to go to God. I can feel Him all around us. He is watching, waiting to take me home. Go ahead—finish your work and send me

to paradise. I pity you for killing people like it's some kind of child's game. Murder is no game: If you offend God, you will pay for your fun. The blood of the innocent people you cut down will follow you to your reckoning. But I am praying for you . . . I pray that you see the evil you're doing and ask for Cod's forgiveness before it's too late."

Related Characters: Immaculée Ilibagiza (speaker), Damascene (speaker)
Page Number: 154
Explanation and Analysis:
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Damascene Character Timeline in Left to Tell

The timeline below shows where the character Damascene appears in Left to Tell. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The Eternal Spring
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
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Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
...just says “I love you” and “I miss you” over and over. Immaculée’s next brother, Damascene, is two years younger than Aimable. Damascene is charismatic, intelligent, and funny. Once, having taught... (full context)
Chapter 2: Standing Up
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...only come back when she knows. Immaculée hides behind some bushes, sobbing, and waits for Damascene to get out of class. She wants to ask her best friend, Janet, who identified... (full context)
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When Immaculée tells Damascene what happened, Damascene says that Buhoro is “not nice” but that she shouldn’t worry, and... (full context)
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Immaculée receives a letter from Vianney that makes her miss him terribly. As promised, Damascene comes to visit her once a month and encourages her to pray as often as... (full context)
Chapter 4: Off to University
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A few months later, Immaculée and Damascene are traveling to Kigali from Mataba to attend a wedding. Suddenly, the bus stops because... (full context)
Chapter 5: Returning Home
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...Aimable, who is in Senegal after having won a scholarship to pursue postgraduate research there. Damascene has come home from Kigali, where he works as a high school history teacher, and... (full context)
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Leonard tries to calm Damascene down, but Damascene insists that they have to flee immediately and seek refuge in Zaire.... (full context)
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Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
...leave that night, without Leonard and Rose. Although in some ways this plan is tempting, Damascene and Immaculée decide to wait until morning to make a decision. Immaculée goes to her... (full context)
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Just as Immaculée begins to pray, Damascene enters the room and tells her that President Habyarimana is dead. His plane was shot... (full context)
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...radio announcer says that public transport has been suspended and that everyone should stay inside. Damascene remarks that this makes them “sitting ducks.” Although the family don’t realize it yet, the... (full context)
Chapter 6: No Going Back
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...machetes. Just before evening, Immaculée finally leaves the radio and begins studying for her exams. Damascene is stunned by Immaculée’s ability to do so; Immaculée pretends to be strong and calm,... (full context)
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...in her life, Immaculée tells her father that he is wrong. Meanwhile, despite Immaculée’s assurances, Damascene remains convinced that he has “no future” and is going to die. (full context)
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Damascene instructs Immaculée to stay with Pastor Murinzi, warning her that if the killers catch her,... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Pastor’s House
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...in Dusenge’s room and thinks about the events of the past few days. Before long, Damascene rushes in to tell her that the killers have burned down their family home. Leonard... (full context)
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Immaculée decides that she cannot give up hope and promises Damascene that they will survive. Damascene tells her to stay with Augustine and not to leave... (full context)
Chapter 13: A Gathering of Orphans
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...who had a master’s degree looked like. Immaculée realizes with horror that this was likely Damascene, and she prays that it wasn’t him. Later, she asks Pastor Murinzi if he has... (full context)
Chapter 17: The Pain of Freedom
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...of those who killed her. Rose had been defending a young man she thought was Damascene; the killers told her if she gave them money they wouldn’t kill her. Rose tried... (full context)
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...that Augustine and Vianney were killed in a massacre at the stadium. He adds that Damascene tried to escape to Zaire, and beforehand left all of his papers with his friend... (full context)
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...killed, along with at least seven uncles. The women cry together. Esperance tells Immaculée that Damascene found her in the forest while he was trying to escape to Zaire, and that... (full context)
Chapter 18: A Letter from Damascene
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Immaculée opens Damascene’s letter and immediately recalls the many letters he sent while they were in school. They... (full context)
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Bonn tried to hide Damascene, but when his family found out, they wanted Damascene dead. One of Bonn’s uncles was... (full context)
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The killers dragged Damascene into the street and asked about his “pretty sister.” Damascene replied that they would never... (full context)
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Immaculée later learns that one of the killers who’d been present at Damascene’s murder, a former friend of Damascene’s named Semahe, wept for days after. He admitted that... (full context)
Chapter 23: Burying the Dead
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...home has been completely destroyed. Her few surviving Tutsi neighbors show her where Rose and Damascene were hastily buried. Hearing the details of how her family members died fills Immaculée with... (full context)
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...last saw them. A group of Tutsi survivors and Hutu friends assemble for Rose and Damascene’s reburial. When they dig up Damascene’s body, Esperance tells Immaculée not to look, but she... (full context)
Chapter 24: Forgiving the Living
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...helicopter flying over her parents’ house. She sees her family members standing in the sky. Damascene is smiling, and tells her that she has been sad for too long and promises... (full context)
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...will be ready “next time,” which makes Immaculée’s heart heavy. Immaculée kneels by Rose and Damascene’s graves and tells them about her new life in Kigali, crying tears of relief.   (full context)
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...Immaculée if she wants to meet the leader of the gang who killed Rose and Damascene, and Immaculée replies that she does. The murderer, Felicien, was a successful Hutu businessman. Immaculée... (full context)