A decade ago, I found myself in a precarious position. I was in Burundi, sipping a Coke with Domitien Ndayizeye, the country’s then-president, U.S. Ambassador Jim Yellin, and several others. We had an emerging catastrophe on our hands.
Ten years earlier, the Rwandan genocide left a trail of ash and tears in its wake, claiming 800,000 lives in 90 days—nearly a soul a minute. Since then, Rwanda had recovered, but neighboring Burundi remained at war with itself, ravaged by infighting with Hutus massacring Tutsis and vice versa.