Categories
Haile Selassie I - Testimonies

Philip Noel Baker – Nobel Prize 1959

Philip Noel-Baker, British Politician and Academic, Nobel Prize 1959 for his efforts towards world disarmament.
Letter to His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I
London, December 5 1959
Your Imperial Majesty,
I have just received Your Majesty’s most gracious letter about the Nobel Prize, and I write at once to express my deep appreciation of what Your Majesty was good enough to say.
When I think of the gallant struggle of Ethiopia in 1935-6, the non-violent but magnificent resistance until 1940, Your Majesty’s courageous return, and the wonderful way in which the Ethiopian people regained their freedom without inflicting any reprisals on the Italians who had behaved so badly, I think it one of the most inspiring pieces of modern history.
I find no less inspiring the way in which Your Majesty has reconstructed the country, and is building up its social system, its economic strength and its spiritual power.
I do everything I can to make known to my compatriots and others what a wonderful example Your Majesty and Your Majesty’s people have given to the world.
With my gratitude again, and my humble duty and devotion.
Your Majesty’s obedient servant, PHILIP NOEL-BAKER

 

Categories
Haile Selassie I - Testimonies

Princess Asfa Yilma – 1936

THE EMPEROR’S SECRET
Haile Selassie rules because he knows the true foundation of a ruler’s strength. If ever there was a man who realised that knowledge is power he is that man. Desire for knowledge is the mainspring of his character. In saying this I speak from personal experience.
When he was in England in 1924 he received me in private when the diplomatic functions were over and quietly and shrewdly questioned me concerning everything in London which he had found difficult to understand. As I answered his questions I had a feeling that each fact was quietly seized upon and stored away for use at some future time. Nothing escaped him. His penetrating enquiries concerning the political situation would, I remember thinking, have astounded the various functionaries who had treated him with somewhat superior politeness and answered him with official caution, amounting usually to evasiveness. He was in Europe for many reasons, but above all to learn. (…)
‘You knew my father, did you not?’ #QHS asked the Emperor. I said that I had met Ras Makonnen, Governor of Harar, only on one occasion, but that I had always remembered his strength and charm. The Emperor smiled. ‘They thought well of him in London I am told?’ #QHS
It was a happiness to reply with truth that during my years in England I had several times heard from officials concerned with Ethiopian affairs how greatly the character and ability of the Emperor’s father had been respected.
As I spoke he said nothing, but I saw a look of resolution come into his eyes, determination that he would be worthy of his father.
Then picked up a volume from the table at his side.
Will you tell your cousin when next you see him that I value his dictionary’, he said. ‘It is a fine piece of work and the greatest assistance to us all’. #QHS
He was referring to my cousin, Charles Ambruster, British Consul at Gondar in Nothern Abyssinia who, having retired to Majorca, had compiled an Amharic dictionary, the first attempt at an exhaustive guide to that elusive language. I was glad to be able to assure him that my cousin was well.
‘There is still a monument to your father in Ethiopia’, said the Emperor, smiling. At first I did not understand. ‘The cannon which he cast for the Emperor Theodore. You know the story?’. #QHS
I had heard my father tell it many times.
‘I believe it was never fire?’
The Emperor’s smile grew wider.
‘No, it was never fired, Princess, but for a man who knew nothing of such things it was a wonderful achievement. We have yet to make another. That was sixty years ago and we have still no factories’. #QHS
‘You have not seen factories in England, your Highness?’
‘No, not yet’ #QHS
‘One part of England where there are many of them they call the Black Country’.
The ruler from the East was puzzled.
‘The smoke blackens everything. It hides the sky. Factories can be very terrible.’
The Emperor slowly nodded.
‘We shall not go too fast’, #QHS he said.
Seated in a high-backed chair, a pile of books and newspapers beside him, he takled alternately in French and Amharic, touching on many subjects. He did not pose. It was his air of simplicity that charmed me. London had excited him; he did not attempt to conceal it. That morning he had spent in a famous Knightsbridge store. ‘One day’, he said, ‘they shall open a branch in my capital’. He smiled as he spoke. ‘Wait’, he said, ‘I will show you what I have bought and how much they charged me. Then you shall tell me if I have done well.’ #QHS
Having spoken he raised his hands and clapped three times. At once a servant emerged from behind a curtain – and I realised even in London he had maintained the rules of his palace and always had assistance close at hand. The various lists were brought and I glanced through them. He had spent over one thousand pounds, buying with excellent judgment and with little of that love of the ornate and curious which eastern potentates so often display. I was able to tell him that the prices where reasonable, and he nodded agreement. ‘Yes’, he said, ‘they do not cheat you in trade, the English. I like London. Everything here is so …’ he paused in search of a word. ‘So firm’, he said at last. ‘Everything here is so firm’. #QHS
Almost at once he began to speak of labour troubles, of Socialism. Was there any chance of this, he asked ? Would it do harm ? He spoke without prejudice and as one well acquainted with Socialist theory though very skeptical as to its practical application. I answered as well as I was able, probably knew much more than I did. He saw that I was not likely to give useful answers and at once sought another topic.
He had been charmed by the Prince of Wales. One day that young man would rule a vast Empire. Would he be friendly to Ethiopia ?
I gave what assurance I felt able, wondering inwardly at that strange gift which had enabled the Prince of Wales to find in a brief interview and without the least effort a friendly footing with an Ethiopian Emperor.
‘I hope that he will visit me at Addis Ababa’, said the Emperor. ‘I will find good hunting for him. He shall see how our men can shoot and ride… And you must come too, Princess. You have stayed away too long…’ He looked at me reflectively. ‘ Don’t you find your husband very white?’ he asked. #QHS
It was a gentle, friendly question, and the Emperor smiled as he spoke; but I sensed the hint of reproof in the tone and felt the intense pride of race that was summed up in those simple words.
The Emperor renewed his invitation with the utmost cordiality. Then all at once he frowned. ‘Your husband was a soldier. They tell me he has fought in the East ?’. I said that this was so. ‘You must bring him out to me’, he said. ‘Our neighbours are becoming too … friendly. I fear we shall have trouble soon’. #QHS
The grave tone was prophetic. Then the Emperor was smiling again, telling me that the Empress wished very much to see me, that she had sent me her portrait, that she hoped my family were blessed by God’s mercy, that she would remember me in her prayers.”
Categories
Haile Selassie I - Testimonies

Il Popolo d’Italia, Newspaper Founded by B.Mussolini – November 1930

“Popolo D’Italia”, Italian Newspaper founded by Benito Mussolini
4th of November 1930
TAFARI MAKONNEN CROWNED EMPEROR
The festive cerimony in the Ethiopian capital city.
With most sumptuous solemnity the Emperor Haile Selassie I has been crowned yesterday morning, by the envoy of the Patriarch of Alexandria, Emperor and King of Kings of Ethiopia. The cerimony had a grandeur that surpasses any imagination, and that has reunited in one splendid frame the lavish ancient magnificence perpetuated by the tradition, and the new aspects that our time and the contacts with our world start to impress on these ancient feudal and warrior people. (…)
In the sky, six airplanes fly: one of them is a gift of the Italian government to the Emperor, its pilot is captain Marazzini. The cannons fire the last blanks for the glory of the King of Kings, so joyfully ascended to the throne of Salomon’s descent.
Categories
Haile Selassie I - Testimonies

Giuseppe Faraci, Italian Journalist – 1965

“These pages want to bear witness of the political wisdom and high human values by which Haile Selassie I, emperor of Ethiopia, lead his people, in the domestic and foreign affairs. These qualities have been particularly expressed in favor of the Italians after his return to the motherland, in 1941.
Moreover, this book want to manifest the feelings of admiration and friendship that Italian people, also since before that time, cherish for the Ethiopian people and their sovereign.”
“3000 years and 224 emperors have passed away, and we reach Haile Selassie I. (…) He is the sovereign that has struggled more for his country, for remove Ethiopia from Middle Age and lead her on the way of modern civilization.
Tireless at work, his day starts at the 6 AM, and ends the night at late hour. He often visits the provinces, without forgetting the darkest villages, that he reaches by strong cars and even mules. Since 5th of May 1941 to 5th of May 1965, he has travelled for more than 1,500,000 Km through the woods.
A man 73 years old, minuscule, small hands, vivid and good glance of wit. The goodness, the human sense, are the most visible qualities in him. He got energy, vigour, endurance in adversities, readiness to take the favourable occasions. Most intelligent, of exceptional mildness of spirit, but inflexible when it is due.
But above all, he is a man having a great faith. In his speeches, he never forget to call on God and Providence. He is firmly sure that God will assist him in leading Ethiopia, and will make him able to achieve the goals he has set. But he also has faith in himself, in his own courage, in his own will, in his conviction to represent the maximum source of wellbeing of his people.
Everything that Haile Selassie I has achieved, has been dominated by this double force, God and himself. His heroic acts, his patient ascension from ras to Neguse Negest, his serene courage during the fascist war, his exile into England, they are all evidences of faith in God and trust in his own mission. His return to his re-conquered motherland was the just prize for this huge character and faith. He is the statesman and ruler that has gathered in himself more history than any other.”
(Taken from “Etiopia Guerra e Pace”, G.Faraci, 1965 Edizioni dell’albero.)
Categories
Haile Selassie I - Testimonies

Birmingham Gazette (UK) – October 1954

From “Birmingham Gazette”, October 15 1954:
WHY, HE HASN’T CHANGED AT ALL
When the Emperor Haile Selassie stepped from his carriage on to the red carpet at Victoria Station today there was a gasp of surprise from the people who remembered him in London during his exile.
Except for his splendiferous uniform and cocked hat with its lion’s mane, he looked just as he used to do some 15 and more years ago. Not a grey hair streaked his beard which is a little more neatly trimmed nowadays.
His melancholy face with its dark eyes and fine features is only a little older, his figure is as slight, and now, as then, it was the superb dignity of this tiny man which made the chief impression.
In the old days he had the dignity of suffering and of protest. Today he had a grave and royal manner as he went through the ceremonial of a state arrival, kissed the Queen’s hand, greeted Sir Winston and inspected the guard of honour.
IN AMHARIC
On of the heroes of the Emperor’s arrival was the officer commanding the guard of honour from the 3rd Grenadiers. This tall young major approached the Emperor and addressed him in his native language of Amharic, inviting him to inspect the guard. A flicker of pleasure passed across Haile Selassie’s face at this courtesy from the non-linguist British. The man who learnt to report in Amharic that the guard was ‘dressed and correct and ready for inspection’ was 28-year-old Major Nicholas Hale-Pakenham-Mahon“.
Categories
Haile Selassie I - Testimonies

U.S. President L.B. Johnson – 1967

White House, Washington, U.S.A.
February 14, 1967
Your Imperial Majesty, Mr. Vice President, Mr. Chief Justice, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
It is a high privilege tonight to honor one of this century’s most courageous, farsighted, and respected statesmen, who has earned an indelible place in the hearts of men everywhere.
Monarch of the oldest Christian kingdom and an ancient civilization, you, Your Majesty, personify to us the eternal spirit of devotion to freedom and independence of your Ethiopian people.
The essence of the Ethiopian character was put in your stirring words many years ago: “With God’s help, we have always stood proud and free upon our native mountains.”
It is difficult for me to express to you tonight the very special place that you occupy in our tradition.
Indeed, in the tradition of all mankind.
Many of us in this room tonight recall the night of June 28, 1936, when the Emperor of Ethiopia made a plea to the League of Nations.
A plea for his suffering people which was also a very moving appeal to the conscience of humanity.
Your Majesty’s final question to the League has echoed down the years with prophetic impact:
“I ask the 52 nations who have given the Ethiopian people a promise to help them in their resistance to the aggressor, what are they willing to do for Ethiopia?
“And the great powers who have .promised the guarantee of collective security to small states on whom weighs the threat that they may one day suffer the fate of Ethiopia, I ask, what measures do you intend to take?
“Representatives of the world, I have come to Geneva to discharge in your midst the most painful of the duties of the head of a state.
“What reply shall I have to take back to my people?”
We all know–to. our shame–the reply Your Majesty received.
The betrayal of Ethiopia was in truth the turning point on the road to aggression and war.
Its lesson has been etched into our memory and has spurred us in building a world where solid commitments to resist oppression are no longer just scraps of paper.
Your Majesty, we also recall with great pleasure your triumphant return to Addis Ababa. And your remarkable reconstruction of your nation as you put into action your long-held and long-frustrated ideals of modernization:
–building schools, a fine university, hospitals, dams, airports, factories;
–turning Addis Ababa into a dynamic, beautiful, modern city;
–proclaiming a revised constitution and legal system;
–training young Ethiopians for the tasks of the future in the 20th century. Your Majesty has not confined your concern just to your people.
We have all witnessed and can testify to with admiration your striking performance as a leader of Africa’s many and diverse peoples–and as a mediator in potentially explosive confrontations between various African states.
The Organization of African Unity-which your initiative in 1963 was instrumental in creating–is one of the most hopeful institutions in the movement towards peace, reason, and unity in the great Continent of Africa.
It has always been a unique privilege and pleasure for me to have an opportunity to exchange views on international affairs with one whom I consider to be one of the world’s greatest eider statesmen.
Today, as in 1963 when we last talked, we had an immediate sense of the great mutual understanding and respect that our people entertain for each other.
Your Majesty, we treasure deeply this relationship. It is my genuine and most earnest hope that succeeding generations of our peoples will continue to reinforce the solid edifice of American-Ethiopian amity and understanding.
On this happy occasion, here tonight in the first house of this land, Mrs. Johnson and I, on behalf of our distinguished guests, all of those who are privileged to come here and be together tonight, and certainly on behalf of all of the American people, propose a toast to Your Majesty–respected statesman, peacemaker in the world, and most honored and trusted friend.
Categories
Haile Selassie I - Testimonies Italo-Ethiopian War

The Chicago Defender – March 2 1935

News that the first contingent of Italian soldiers have arrived in Eritrea, on the eastern front of Ethiopia, does not give Emperor Haile Selassie the slightest worry, it was indicated here this week.

‘We have done all a nation can do to preserve peace, but will not humiliate ourselves for Italy or any other country. We have appealed to no country for aid or for sympathy. We are fully aware that many nations desire the privilege of exploiting our mineral resources, therefore, are not misled by the pretenses they make to find an excuse for invading our country. But once the invasion starts, the worry will be theirs, not ours’. #QHS

(…) The Emperor of Ethiopia is not only a keen student of military tactics, but is a diplomat as well. Educated in France and England, he has absorbed much of the suavity of those countries along with the military astuteness of the former. Besides running his country ably, Haile Selassie is an accomplished journalst, and edits the country’s only newspaper along with the assistance of the Empress, who, besides being a model, modern mother in every sense of the word, is a typist and a shorthand expert”.

 

Categories
Haile Selassie I - Testimonies

McGill University, Canada – Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa – 1954

F. Cyril James, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University
Montreal, 5th of June 1954
“Mr. Chancellor,
I am deeply privileged to present to you, in the same of the Senate, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, Elected of God, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, in order that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Already renowed for his wise direction of the development of his country, he stood forth before the Western World in 1936 as a symbol of courage and of that vision without which nations perish. ‘I decided to come myself’, he told the League of Nations in calm but unforgettable words, ‘to bear witness against the crime perpetrated upon my people, and to give Europe a warning of the doom that awaits it if it should bow before the accomplished fact’.
The Western World was not quickly awakened, but when it had become engulfed in Armageddon His Imperial Majesty at once returned to Khartoum to lead the patriot forces that fought gallantly to reconquer their country from the aggressor. For many men that would have been achievement enough; but then years later, in 1950, when freedom was endangered in a distant corner of the world, His Imperial Majesty promptly gave the support of Ethiopia to another country in desperate need. ‘You are fighting not only for freedom as we know it in Ethiopia’, he told his soldiers as they set out for Korea, ‘you are also representing and defending in far corners of the earth the most sacred principle of modern international policy – that principle of collective security with which the name of Ethiopia is imperishably associated’.
Mr. Chancellor, in the name of the Senate, I present to you His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, pioneer in the field of education; clear-visioned to promote the development of his country; skilled and unflinchingly courageous in its defence; leader among leaders – Negus Negusti – in man’s progress toward a world society in which every nation shall enjoy the blessings of peace.”
Categories
Haile Selassie I - Testimonies

The Chicago Defender – 8th of November 1930

CORONATION OF RAS TAFARI MARKED WITH SPLENDOUR
The oldest kingdom in the world has just crowned its 334th ruler. Sunday, at daybreak, the coronation ceremony that made Ras Tafari Makonnen Emperor Haile Selassie I, Lord King of Kings of Ethiopia, Conquering Lion of Judah and the elect of God, was performed amid the splendors of the old world that transformed this city of 60.000 into something approaching a page from the ‘Arabian Nights’.
It was such a scene that has not been witnessed in many centuries in Africa, and rarely if ever before in any other part of the world.
By this ceremony, that has its beginning three weeks ago, when the new ruler with his wife, Princess Waziru Menen, opened into the ancient period of prayer that has marked the coronation of new Ethiopian rulers for centuries past.
Then, following a series of ceremonies of lesser importance, the ras and his princess prepared themselves Saturday afternoon for an all night vigil in the Cathedral of St. George, where they remained in one long, continuous prayer for strength to rule their people justly, until the break of dawn Sunday morning when, led by the priests and high priests of the kingdom, Ras Tafari and Princess Waziru passed through a long line of bowing subjects to the newly built coronation hall where the Coptict archbishop of Ethiopia placed a crown of gold and jewels upon the head of Ras Tafari.
‘This crown shall be the crown of thy glory’, chanted the archbishop in a clear voice and in the picturesque language of Ethiopia, and the emperor answered, ‘I am the least of thy brehren’.
(…)
Absolute quiet reigned throughout the town during the ceremony, Although 300,000 souls had crowded into a territory that normally housed and fed just 60,000, there was the peace and quiet of an ordinary Sunday morning. The voices of the archbishop and the emperor could be heard clearly by the throng outside the hall (none but priests and high officials of state were admitted to the ceremony). Then when the last word was spoken, and the new emperor, mighty ruler of the Lions of Judah, arose from his kneeling position before the altar, a mighty cheer went up that rebounded against the three hills upon which Addis Ababa is situated,, 8.000 feet above sea level, and sent roaring echoes into the jungle. Cymbals and drums that had remained quiet during the ceremony took up their jubilant heating, and voices once again resumed their hurrahs for their master.
Out upon a raised platform, the emperor greeted his subjects in the order of their importance. First came the rasses of Ethiopia’s 30 states, many of whom were bowing in complete submission to the King of Kings of Ethiopia for the first time in their lives. Then came the priests and other high churchmen, followed by dignitaries of foreign countries. The Duke of Gloucester, son of the king of England, led the delegations of foreign countries. (…)
Ethiopia is one of the most unique and picturesque countries of the world. The country is believed to have been founded more than 2.000 years before the birth of Christ. The reigning house of which Ras Tafari comes was founded, according to authentic history, when the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon to seek advice from him about the country.”
Categories
Ge'ez ግእዝ Mysteries Haile Selassie I - Testimonies

Ethiopian Wise Kidane Welde Keflie Ge’ez-Amharic Dictionary – 1955

From a very important Ge’ez-Amharic dictionary, printed under the imperial government in Ethiopia, in 1955, and written by Aleqa Kidane Weld Keflie. At the beginning of the book we find the picture of the King with a short Ge’ez composition:
ቀዳማዊ፡ሐፄ፡ኀይለ፡ሥላሴ፡
ንጉሠ፡ነገሥት፡ዘኢትዮጵያ፡
ኢይፈቅድ፡ይንግርዎ፡
ግእዞ፡ለሰብእ፡ግእዝ፡
እስመ፡ለሊሁ፡የአምሮ።
Qedamawi Hadziè Hayle Selassie
N(e)guse Negest ZeItyoppya
Iyfeq(e)d Yn(e)g(e)rwo
G(e)(e)zo LeSeb(e) G(e)(e)z
(E)sme Lelihu Yeamro ::
His Majesty Qedamawi Hayle Selassie
King of Kings of Ethiopia
Doesn’t want that one would tell Him
the Coscience of Men Ge’ez
For He Himself knows it ::
It is a literal adaptation from the Ge’ez Bible, from the Gospel of John 2:25 speaking about Christ:
ኢይፈቅድ፡ይንግርዎ፡ግዕዞ፡ለሰብእ፡እስመ፡ለሊሁ፡ያአምሮ፡ለሰብእ።
Iyfeqd Yngrwo G(e)(e)’zo LeSeb(e) (E)sme Lelihu Yaamro LeSeb(e) ::
which King James Version translates in this way:
“And He needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man.”
He knows the conscience of man (that is another meaning of Ge’ez, like the word used for the language) and no one shall educate HIM in this respect. By this statement, the ethiopian scholar is attributing to His Majesty the same supreme wisdom of Christ.