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Haile Selassie I - Teachings

Interview with “Le Journal” of Paris, July 1936

P. Lecler, Le Journal (Paris, France), 3rd of July 1936
The Emperor of Ethiopia granted me an interview of a great hour, in the small living room of his apartment at Carleton hotel, in Geneva.
How sad and discouraged he seemed to me after the quarrel he caused during Tuesday’s session. It seemed evident to me that he had just burned his last cartridges and that he realized the vanity of the last efforts he had just made to induce the League of Nations to bring belated support to his country.
His lips emitted words full of courage, but the deep sadness on his face and his look of weariness belied his words.
His usual black attire seemed to have taken on a striking significance; he discussed at length the possibility of his return to Ethiopia – probably to Gorè – in case the League of Nations would answer his call. But he has been forced to accept the possibility of a definitive failure which would mean perpetual exile for him.
‘I have done the impossible’, he said sadly, ‘to present my case after many delays from an angle which should decide the League of Nations to keep its commitments. I still want to believe in the active sympathy of the English people and that of other nations, but it is diplomatic chicanery that makes the exercise of justice difficult. I will remain in Geneva until the end of this conference, and, if the question is adjourned, I will return in September to present my defense again’.
‘And where do you plan to reside in the meantime ? In Geneva ?’
‘You know the Swiss do not want’
When I asked him if it was true that he had requested permission to stay in the country, he replied, as if moved by some vestige of his past pride: ‘It is not my habit to impose my presence to anyone’
Haile Selassie will prefer to return to England, and try to raise the necessary funds there to return to Ethiopia and resume a defensive action.
‘I have just received a letter from Ras Imru who is in Goré and which confirms to me that he is in the process of bringing together all our forces in this region, but that we are lacking in armaments. The Italians have spread this legend that we no longer have any government in the West, because the Gallas are not our friends. Yet almost the entire population of Addis Ababa was Galla. I will be welcome in Goré as in any other region of our country, because otherwise it would have been impossible for me to organize the energetic defense of Ethiopia until the time when we were defeated by Italian gases.
‘Do you plan to return back to Ethiopia, no matter what ?’
Yes, if the League of Nations acts, or if I can collect the funds necessary to our defence. Otherwise it would be futile to try to continue the struggle.’
The question was then asked, whether such activities in England would not be considered an anti-Italian campaign, contrary to the conditions under which the Emperor was allowed to stay in Britain.
No conditions were imposed on me. Certainly, I am anti-Italian, it is impossible for me to deny it.’
A well-informed personality, who saw the letter sent to the Emperor in Palestine before he embarked for England, assured me that it specified, in terms which required no reply, that the English wanted the Emperor abstained from all military activity, as long as he was in the country.
I pointed out to the Emperor that he had lost a lot of weight since I had seen him in Ethiopia. He smiled sadly and said, ‘I have hardly slept since I left Ethiopia’.
‘Is it the loss of your empire or your current situation that obsesses you?’
The answer came shortly after.
‘It is completely indifferent to me to be emperor or not. I would be perfectly content to be just a simple citizen. But the sufferings of my people haunt me. I know what happened in Tripoli, and I have doubts about the current lot of my unfortunate subjects. It is only for them that I continue the fight, for them and for the triumph of justice.’
‘And if all your efforts will be vain at the end, what will you do ?’
‘What can I do? I will eat my heart out in exile’
‘Where do you plan to retire?’
I did not want to think about it yet. Maybe in England, maybe in Jerusalem; it will no longer matter if there is no more hope’.
‘But what do you plan to do after that active life that I have seen you doing in Ethiopia ? Do you plan to write, to give lectures ? Maybe you will go to America?’
‘Maybe I’ll give lectures later. I have, in fact, received offers to go to America. But how could this be useful to Ethiopia? If all is lost, how can anything I do matter’.
‘And your sons?’
‘The youngest will in any case remain in England. I want them to study there. The oldest will accompany me wherever I go.’
‘I suppose that your bitterness must be deep…’
‘I have no rancour, nothing but sadness. I repeat, if Ethiopia sinks, the League of Nations and civilization itself will sink with her.’
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Haile Selassie I - Teachings

OFFICIAL NOTICE – Ethiopia’s position on contiguous ex-Italian colonies – August 1945

HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY CLAIMS PRINCIPLE OF EQUAL RIGHTS AND SELF-DETERMINATION
“By decision of the Council of Foreign Ministers in London, met to prepare the Treaty of Peace with Italy, Ethiopia has been informed that along with the other states at War with Italy, she may have until October 1st, 1945, to submit in writing her views in regard of the settlement, so far as Ethiopia is concerned, although the decisions of the Conference must necessarily determine the provisions of the future treaty of Peace with Italy.
Ethiopia, the principal victim of Italian aggression, is permitted to submit written statements to the Conference in London in regard to territories of which she was robbed by Italian aggression, and the return of which is essential to afford Ethiopia the inherent right of all independent states, of access to the Sea. The enemy has been invited to the Conference and may receive such communications and furnish to the conference his comments thereon and replies thereto, but the principal victim of the enemy’s aggression may not have the privilege of replying to or furnishing explanations in regard to the points raised by her written communications.
The small nations of the world must be accorded a fair opportunity of representation in regard to decisions affecting their soil and future if there is to be hoped for a peace founded upon the principles of justice.
Ethiopia as the principal victim of Italian aggression and cruelties, as the state whose faith in and devotion to the ideals of collective security were so tragically belied, has no choice but to make her voice heard in protest against such exclusion which she considers an injustice. After ten years of incredible sufferings and losses, the small states of the world have the right to rely upon the principle so recently and solemnly consecrated of developing ‘friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination’.#QHS
24th of August 1945
(Taken from “Eritrea and Benadir”, The Ethiopian Press and Information Department, Addis Abeba)
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Haile Selassie I - Teachings Haile Selassie I - Video

From “The Lion and the Cross” – 1963 US Documentary

INTERVIEWER: “Your Majesty, what in your opinion are Ethiopia’s greatest needs?”
HIM: “We have already begun the program most essential for Ethiopia, that is to raise the standard of living of her people through education and better health. These would be the primary objectives. The remaining needs will not be forgotten and will also be taken care of.”
INTERVIEWER: “Your Majesty has taken a personal interest and a personal hand almost in every phase of life in Ethiopia, but does Your Majesty not sometimes grow weary, and perhaps feel that this all too much work for one man”.
HIM: “This is really not significant. One individual naturally cannot shoulder the responsibility of a whole nation. We have already told this to our ministers and government officials. Our main objective in the administration of the affairs of 22 million people is that all should cooperate and share responsibility. This has always been our program and will continue to be our program. Our wish is to serve our country as an Ethiopian. It is our conviction that the administration of the country should not depend on one person, but is rather the concern of all, each in his own way must help his country.”
INTERVIEWER: “What does Your Majesty learn from the attempted coup d’etat?”
HIM: “You can say that they have learned from us, those who attempted the coup d’etat. There is nothing that we have learned from them. If you examine their demands you will find we have already started these reforms. We would have been delighted to learn something new from them.”
INTERVIEWER: “Does Your Majesty see Ethiopia emerging as a leader or perhaps even the leader of Africa ?”
HIM: “Ethiopia does not have any intention of being the leader of Africa as such. It hopes to live harmoniously with all its African sister countries. How long did the american confederation take to become united ? I believe you even fought a war about it.”
INTERVIEWER: “Would Your Majesty care to say a few words in english” ?
HIM: “My English is very poor. The most critical issue that has felt (?) the world in recent times was the Cuba-US conflict. The statemanship and wisdom of Prime Minister Khrushchev has greatly helped to ease the situation. We’d like to take the opportunity to congratulate both President Kennedy and President Premier Khrushchev as well as Secretary General U Thant.”
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Haile Selassie I - Teachings Italo-Ethiopian War

Ethiopia the Last Citadel of Collective Security – 1936

“Do the peoples of the world not yet realize that by fighting on until the bitter end I am not only performing my sacred duty to my people but standing guard in the last citadel of collective security ? Are they too blind to see that I have responsibilities to the whole of humanity to face ? I must still hold on until my tardy allies appear. And if they never come, then I say prophetically and without bitterness the west will perish.” #QHS
April 1936
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Haile Selassie I - Teachings

His Majesty’s Message to the American “Negro”

“We can never forget the help Ethiopia received from Negro Americans during the terrible crisis of 1935.
American Negroes showed great sympathy for our cause and extended the hand of brotherhood to us. This was our great hour of need. It moved me to know that Americans of African descent did not abandon their embattled brothers, but stood by us. The ties that bind Ethiopians to Negro Americans are historic and strong. I hope that these ties will persist and will be strengthened to our mutual advantage.
We follow with the greatest interest the struggle of the colored people of the United States to achieve equal rights and human dignity and we continue to follow the progress of that struggle with intense pain and pleasure.
Pain because colored people in America experience inequality and persecution, pleasure because of the efforts now being made in the United States by Negroes themselves and by the government to restore the freedom, rights and privileges to the colored people which have so long been denied them. We hope for and will continue to work for the speedy and satisfactory solution of the racial problem in the United States. We want our colored brothers in America to know that we are with them in their great struggle for justice.
We in Africa desire success in this struggle. I personally reaffirm our basic unity of purpose. What we Africans and colored Americans seek is identical. We both desire dignity and freedom and an end to oppression and discrimination based on color.
Discrimination violates fundamental human rights, it violates the laws of God and also the laws of man. I cannot emphasize too strongly the importance this problem of racial discrimination has in my mind. I believe both the Eastern countries and the Western countries will have to collaborate to remove this problem which is the scourge of mankind.
I am pleased to note that President Kennedy and his government are making great efforts to solve the racial problem.
We would like to see more colored Americans come to Ethiopia to work and help our people develop our country and improve the standards of living of our population. They can render valuable assistance. Our doors are open. Unfortunately, few Negroes have come so far, but they will be warmly welcomed.” #QHS
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Haile Selassie I - Teachings

The Modern is not above the Ancient

“Since the way of living of people at any period is closely tied up with the particular conditions prevailing at the time, we cannot look back to Ethiopia prior to the 20th Century and criticize the manner of administration of our forefathers. The reasons and difficulties that made the way of living then what it was can be accurately known.”
Don’t criticize I&I biblical fathers through your modern age mindset. Understand the different needs and opportunities of our Ancients through serious and original Ethiopian education.
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Haile Selassie I - Teachings

How can we Express without Education ?

 

“The extensive development of education should rank high in the list of your objecives. We have repeatedly stated in Our public utterances that ‘Knowledge is power and unity is strength’. If We had not developed education in our people, to whom could We have expressed this wish ? Praise be to Him, who has enabled Us to express it to the present as to future generations”. 

 

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Haile Selassie I - Teachings

1st of March 1896 – Adwa Victory

“Just seventy years ago, Ethiopian armies formed almost as if by magic and hurled themselves upon a grasping invader to gain the immortal triumph of Adowa.
The victory of Adowa has long been hailed as one of the major events of the nineteenth century in Africa. Its effects upon Ethiopia and her relations with the colonial powers were far-reaching. Certainly it preserved the nation’s age-old independence from the greedy incursions then being made elsewhere against our brethren on this continent.”
H.I.M. Haile Selassie I
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Haile Selassie I - Teachings

The Importance of Ethiopian Dams

“Almighty God in His infinite wisdom and bounty has blessed our Empire with various incomparable riches, not the least of which is the wealth of our country’s water resources. The development of these resources has been our constant preoccupation and we are today taking the first step in our programme for the fullest utilization of this God-given gift for the benefit of our people, marking thereby the high place which we have ascribed to the matter of water resources in our overall planning. Unlike so many lands around her, Ethiopia has been especially blessed with an abundance of natural resources, and the prolific amount of her annual rainfall makes her fitly to be called: ‘The Water Tower of the Horn of Africa’. Millions of square miles of territory, together with millions of human beings and their livestock depend on the water that flows from Ethiopia’s mountains, and from her comes more than two-thirds of the waters of the Nile.
It is the duty and privilege of this generation and of posterity to conserve and develop these precious resources. To fail to do so will be to fail in our God-given responsibility. In building dams for impounding these waters and utilising the hydro-electric power to be secured from them, we are giving a powerful impetus to all the programmes we have laid out for the economic development of our country. We are thereby protecting from erosion the rich and precious soil of our Empire, and are storing up waters for the irrigation of lands not as yet under cultivation, for increasing our agricultural and plantation potential. We are thus providing the sinews of industry through the generation of electric power, and finally, we are aiding the development of transportation in securing the means for its eventual electrification.” (…)
“Today is a day of deep historic significance, for in laying this foundation stone, we are establishing for our beloved people a source of wealth. This project constitutes the initial step both in the development and utilisation of the water resources of our Empire, and in the programme designed by us for enhancing the progress and expansion of all fields of economic endeavour of our country – agriculture, industry, transportation and communications. And we shall never cease to strive, as we have done in the case of the resources of these Awash waters, to exploit to the maximum each individual source of wealth which God Almighty in His mercy has bestowed upon us. It is our duty to see that yet other barrages are build in order to ensure that this bounty of Providence does not go to waste and is utilised to the greater glory of His handiwork.
This project is but the first step in a similar programme we have in mind for the other water courses of our Empire, such as the Nile with its volume and potentialities so vastly greater, as well as the Baro, the Atbara, the Sobot, the Akobo and the Webi Shebeli.”
H.I.M. Haile Selassie I
Laying the Foundation of the Koka Dam, 1958
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Haile Selassie I - Teachings

Don’t Listen The Propaganda News Media

“We remind you, finally, that all of you are by race, colour, blood, and custom, members of the great Ethiopian family. Although there may be local dialects, we must always strive to preserve our unity and our freedom. We can achieve this only by close co-operation and unified effort, and by struggling firmly against all propaganda trying to break Ethiopian unity and violate her freedom. It is inimical but easy to spread irresponsible news, trying to induce people to betray their country and step outside the path of truth and love of their country. It is to assume a great responsibility to give useful and sound advice and guidance to any intelligent observer who is willing to listen and profit. Such advice and guidance constitute a real source of life, because they reveal the path of truth and preserve the hearer on earth and in heaven. Even as every individual has the duty to sacrifice his life for his country, so also he must defend himself against subversive news and propaganda. You must not believe those who, being unable to think clearly or to achieve their ambitions, try to break the unity of the country with malicious news, in order to obtain temporary personal benefits.”
H.I.M. Haile Selassie I – Ogaden Speech, August 25 1956