Left to Tell

by

Immaculée Ilibagiza

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Hutus are the majority population in Rwanda. They are thought to be identifiable by their shorter stature, darker skin, and broader noses (in comparison to Tutsis), but again, these physical markers are unreliable. During the genocide, Hutu extremists encouraged all Hutus to take up arms and murder Tutsis.

Hutu Quotes in Left to Tell

The Left to Tell quotes below are all either spoken by Hutu or refer to Hutu. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). 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 10 Quotes

I knew that he wasn't entirely to blame for his ignorance because he'd learned his contempt for Tutsis in school . . . the same school I went to! Young Hutus were taught from an early age that Tutsis were inferior and not to be trusted, and they didn't belong in Rwanda. Hutus witnessed the segregation of Tutsis every day, first in the schoolyard and then in the workplace, and they were taught to dehumanize us by calling us "snakes" and "cockroaches." No wonder it was so easy for them to kill us—snakes were to be killed and cockroaches exterminated!

Related Characters: Immaculée Ilibagiza (speaker), Sembeba
Page Number: 85-86
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Left to Tell LitChart as a printable PDF.
Left to Tell PDF

Hutu Term Timeline in Left to Tell

The timeline below shows where the term Hutu appears in Left to Tell. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The Eternal Spring
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...and doesn’t know that racism or prejudice exist. She doesn’t hear the words Tutsi or Hutu until starting school. Immaculée’s village, Mataba, is extremely safe, and she has a very happy... (full context)
Chapter 2: Standing Up
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...years old and in her elementary school classroom when her teacher, Buhoro, tells all the Hutus to stand up. He then tells the Tutsis to stand up, and after, asks Immaculée... (full context)
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Immaculée explains that there are three tribes in Rwanda: the majority of the population is Hutu, a minority is Tutsi, and an even smaller minority is Twa, a pygmy tribe who... (full context)
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...of different races, religions, or tribes. Yet they themselves had suffered at the hands of Hutu extremists. Although she didn’t realize it at the time, Immaculée lived through the 1973 coup... (full context)
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Twa are very short and thus easy to recognize, but the physical distinctions between Hutus and Tutsis are more subtle. Tutsis are supposedly taller and lighter-skinned, whereas Hutus are shorter,... (full context)
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Unbeknown to Immaculée, however, the Hutu president Juvénal Habyarimana has instituted the ethnic roll call in class in order to “balance”... (full context)
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...whole school prays together before and after meals. One of Immaculée’s friends there is a Hutu girl called Sarah from Kigali. Sarah invites Immaculée home with her, and Immaculée is dazzled... (full context)
Chapter 3: Higher Learning
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...rebels are the children of Rwandan refugees who fled to Uganda to escape persecution by Hutu extremists. Immaculée feels deeply embarrassed; she is one of only 3 Tutsis in the class,... (full context)
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On another occasion, Immaculée is walking to a school picnic when a local Hutu man promises to kill her as vengeance for the actions of the Tutsi rebels. The... (full context)
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...the war broke out, Leonard was arrested at work. An old schoolfriend of Leonard’s, a Hutu man named Kabayi who is now a regional mayor, instructed the guards not to give... (full context)
Chapter 4: Off to University
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...religion, family, and education. Before long, they start dating. Leonard doesn’t mind that John is Hutu, but he is concerned about the fact that John is Protestant and warns Immaculée not... (full context)
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...party is called Interahamwe, which means “those who attack together.” The movement soon becomes the “Hutu-extremist militia,” and they are recognizable by the red, yellow, and green colors they wear. (full context)
Chapter 5: Returning Home
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...hateful propaganda about Tutsi “cockroaches.” The announcers claim that the Tutsis are planning to kill Hutus and they chant “Hutu Power!” Immaculée finds it hard to understand how anyone takes such... (full context)
Chapter 6: No Going Back
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...entire day of April 7th, 1994 listening to the radio. The Rwandan radio stations encourage Hutus to attack Tutsis with machetes. Just before evening, Immaculée finally leaves the radio and begins... (full context)
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The next day, the BBC plays an interview with Agathe Uwilingiyimana, the moderate Hutu prime minister, who says that she and her family are trapped inside their house in... (full context)
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...away from Immaculée’s family. While Augustine and Immaculée are walking, they pass a crowd of Hutus carrying weapons, and Immaculée feels certain that they are about to be killed. However, God... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Pastor’s House
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...she smiles. However, he turns away in disgust, and Immaculée realizes that he is a Hutu extremist. Immaculée then sees Janet, her friend from primary school. However, to Immaculée’s horror Janet... (full context)
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...mother was Tutsi, although she died a few years earlier. Augustine starts crying. He is Hutu but looks Tutsi, and he overheard people in the living room saying he is a... (full context)
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...and not to leave the house under any circumstances. Damascene decides to stay with a Hutu friend who lives nearby. As it comes time for Immaculée and Damascene to say goodbye,... (full context)
Chapter 9: Into the Bathroom
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...they begin hiding there, they overhear Pastor Murinzi promising someone that he is “a good Hutu” and that he would never hide Tutsis. Immaculée reflects that if the killers found her... (full context)
Chapter 10: Confronting My Anger
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...deserve to be massacred; in school he learned that Tutsis did the same thing to Hutus hundreds of years ago and that the killings are thus a form of “self-defense.” Immaculée... (full context)
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...his room so the women can listen, and he agrees. A government minister encourages every Hutu listening to kill all the Tutsis in the country. Immaculée realizes with horror that Pastor... (full context)
Chapter 12: No Friends to Turn To
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...The pastor adds that the killers found 600 guns, grenades, and a death list of Hutu names in Immaculée’s house. He says that the massacre of Tutsis was indeed self-defense, because... (full context)
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...make matters worse, Immaculée then hears on the radio that over 500 Tutsis and “their Hutu traitor” friends have been killed at her university. (full context)
Chapter 13: A Gathering of Orphans
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...the women. She managed to get a fake identity card for Malaba listing her as Hutu, and sent both women off loaded with weapons. (full context)
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...describe the horrors they witnessed on their journey, explaining that the killers were even murdering Hutus who forgot their identity cards or who opposed the killing of Tutsis. The women survived... (full context)
Chapter 15: Unlikely Saviors
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...camp at Lake Kivu, which is not far from Mataba. When the troops arrive, the Hutu government throws a big celebration, which Pastor Murinzi says proves that the French have arrived... (full context)
Chapter 17: The Pain of Freedom
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...that he is trying to judge from their physical appearance whether they are Tutsi or Hutu. Immaculée is the only one with an identity card, which she presents to the soldier.... (full context)
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...even worse as a result. Immaculée had always thought Jean Paul and his brother were Hutu, and now Jean Paul explains that their short stature and dark skin helped them survive.... (full context)
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...and the others to climb into the back of a truck. When they reach a Hutu roadblock, the soldiers pretend that they are bringing supplies to Hutu refugees from Kigali, and... (full context)
Chapter 18: A Letter from Damascene
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...of Bonn’s uncles was Buhoro, who Immaculée later learns was one of the most vicious Hutu extremists in Rwanda. Bonn helped Damascene to hide in a hole near Bonn’s house for... (full context)
Chapter 19: Camp Comfort
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...the bathroom, the camp is positively luxurious. Furthermore, Immaculée enjoys sleeping outside in nature. Sometimes Hutus assemble at the edges of the camp and peer in, but Immaculée always feels safe.... (full context)
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...but excelled in school. She developed an enormous social and professional network and bought a Hutu identity card years back in order to be able to do work for the government.  (full context)
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...pay the debt she owes to Immaculée’s family. Aloise admitted that, though she was “legally” Hutu, her husband and children were Tutsi. She and the children fled Kigali during the genocide,... (full context)
Chapter 21: On to Kigali
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...ground. He cannot believe that so many Tutsis are alive, and insists they must be Hutu spies. Just as Immaculée begins praying for Aloise on the others who she left by... (full context)
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...heavy heart, Immaculée tells Bazil that her family, along with almost every Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Mataba, are all dead. Bazil’s own parents, four brothers, and three sisters are dead,... (full context)
Chapter 22: The Lord’s Work
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...have returned to the country, shaping it into a different place. Meanwhile, over two million Hutus had left, many to refugee camps in other countries. Surrounded by ongoing turmoil and suffering,... (full context)
Chapter 23: Burying the Dead
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...doing far better than when she 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... (full context)
Chapter 24: Forgiving the Living
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...Rose and Damascene, and Immaculée replies that she does. The murderer, Felicien, was a successful Hutu businessman. Immaculée had been friends with his children and remembered him as elegant, handsome, and... (full context)