Theo Nkembe
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Theo Nkembe speaks on...

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Interview Date:
October 28, 2008
Kigali, Rwanda
Lisa P. Nathan
Nell Carden Grey
9:06 - 12:18


Lisa P. Nathan: So, as a, as a human being and as you said before as a Christian, the type of documents and the things that you have seen pass before you in your job as archivist since 1998 I imagine, have, some of them have been quite difficult for you to see as a human being. Can you speak to that at all?
Yes, very difficult. I remember particularly this, we had a, we have a collection of tapes that record (__) film, that record, what do you call it? Some pictures on the genocide and I can assure you, if you have seen some, you can stay many days without eating. It’s horrible. And that maybe even after ten years, some images are still coming.
When you see them at the first times, it’s, it’s a shock to see that human beings can treat other human beings in this way. It’s unforgetta‐, you cannot forget. It’s a, it's a, it’s a real problem. And beyond that, you have, like, witness statements where – when the, when witnesses give details of what happened, what they saw, you know, and sometimes you cannot, you have to be very strong to read some things. You c‐, it’s, it's unbelievable only.  
You cannot believe it but, you know, these things, as long as you are in Rwanda and you see people in Rwanda, you see that all these things happened here.  It’s hard to believe and to accept that it’s possible.
LPN: Do you feel like your thoughts on humanity have changed at all?
Yes, changed because I understood that we don’t respect the limits. Human beings, there are limits that we should not cross, so when a human being crosses that limit, it, it can change the perception of other people. Maybe not those who are living here, but when you just come as somebody, as a foreigner that has seen it with other eyes, you know, you see it.
You see that when you cross the limit of genocide, not only here in Rwanda. I read about genocide before, you know, in other countries, other places.  But the way it was done here, it’s very specific, specific. Even in, in Europe I think the Jews is not so f‐, so fast, you know.
It was, it’s so, it is te‐, terrible, terrible, terrible in my view