Left to Tell

by

Immaculée Ilibagiza

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Interahamwe Term Analysis

The Interahamwe began as a youth movement of the Hutu government in the time leading up to the genocide. The term means “those who attack together,” and the Interahamwe were one of the earliest groups to begin harassing, attacking, and murdering Tutsis. Young Hutu men, many of them unemployed, were persuaded to join the Interahamwe by the promise of free alcohol and drugs. They were recognizable by the colors and demonic costumes they wore.
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Interahamwe Term Timeline in Left to Tell

The timeline below shows where the term Interahamwe appears in Left to Tell. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: Off to University
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...they offer free drugs and alcohol. The youth movement of President Habyarimana’s party is called Interahamwe, which means “those who attack together.” The movement soon becomes the “Hutu-extremist militia,” and they... (full context)
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During Easter vacation in 1993, Immaculée sees the Interahamwe for the first time. She is with John, visiting Sarah and her family in Kigali.... (full context)
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...traveling to Kigali from Mataba to attend a wedding. Suddenly, the bus stops because 300 Interahamwe are blocking the road, many of them clearly drunk or on drugs. The bus driver... (full context)
Chapter 6: No Going Back
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...all Belgians in Rwanda are under threat. In the morning, two dozen members of the Interahamwe throw grenades into houses in Mataba, killing those who try to escape with machetes. Immaculée’s... (full context)
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Only a few hours later, Interahamwe attack the crowd outside Immaculée’s home. Leonard and a hundred other Tutsi men chase away... (full context)
Chapter 15: Unlikely Saviors
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...sight. Immaculée says she would rather be shot quickly by the French than give the Interahamwe killers “the satisfaction” of gruesomely murdering her. Pastor Murinzi is surprised, and eventually agrees to... (full context)
Chapter 17: The Pain of Freedom
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...John, surround the women, carrying weapons to protect them. Suddenly, a group of 60 heavily-armed Interahamwe emerge from the darkness. However, miraculously they pass by the group without incident. Soon after,... (full context)
Chapter 19: Camp Comfort
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...to be a genocide survivor, but after interrogation he confesses that he is actually an Interahamwe spy. Immaculée believes the captain orders him to be killed. Immaculée, meanwhile, spends time caring... (full context)
Chapter 20: The Road to the Rebels
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...In the truck on the way to the RPF camp, they pass a group of Interahamwe, and Immaculée once again has to pray that they pass by safely. (full context)
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The others get out of the truck and the Interahamwe begin taunting them, saying that while they might have had the protection of the French... (full context)
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...realizes that she truly is walking in the “valley of death,” and prays fiercely. One Interahamwe recognizes her, saying “I know this cockroach” and identifying her as Leonard’s daughter. Immaculée puts... (full context)
Chapter 21: On to Kigali
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...prayers she has been saying, because they worked to miraculously save the group from the Interahamwe. Aloise embraces her two children and announces that they have survived the genocide. She thanks... (full context)