Haile Selassie I - Anecdotes

The Ice Cream Treat

“My first memories of the Ethiopian emperor take me back to my childhood, in 1956. I was eight years old at the time and had come down with mumps, which stubbornly refused to clear up even after treatment with a course of drugs. The doctors in the Haile Selassie Hospital in Addis Ababa decided to operate on me, removing parts of my parotid gland that had become infected. To this day, I can clearly remember this procedure: being anaesthetised with ether and the intense nausea that subsequently overcame me. But above all I recall the moment when I woke up from the anaesthetic: as I slowly came to, the first person my gaze focused upon was none than the Negusa Negast, the King of Kings. He was wearing his field marshal’s uniform, over which he had draped his kabba, the traditional cloak of the Ethiopian nobility. Next to him stood my grandfather Ras Kassa and my father Ras Asserate, both looking worried. The emperor laid his hand on my forehead and said: ‘Now wait just a moment, my boy, and there will be ice cream as a treat !’. Saying this, he took his leave in French of Professor Leutze, the hospital’s German clinical director, and of the German surgeon who had performed the operation, thanking them for their splendid work. I later learned that the doctor who had operated on me was given a gold coin in gratitude by the emperor, while my parents sent him a set of gold cufflinks. I lived the next few days in a world of make-believe. For a whole week, as I lay in my sick bed, I received daily deliveries of a large Thermos flask, emblazoned with a golden imperial lion and filled with the most diverse and wonderful flavours of ice cream. The delicacies were specially prepared for me from fresh ingredients by the emperor’s Swiss head chef in the nearby Genete-Leul Palace.

(Taken from “King of Kings”, Asfa-Wossen Asserate, Haus Publishing, 2015 p. xvii)

Spiritual Poetry

Nature is Ethiopian

I’ve seen Creation dapples
the wood, the pepper, the apple
you have as good example
throughout evidence is ample
anything they could babble
doesn’t matter it’s vain battle
red, gold and green castle
leaves as flags cannot baffle
the land is Ethiopian channel
any other nation is a vassal
Haile Selassie I is the chapel
earth is the Lord’s no hassle.
Haile Selassie I - Testimonies

EL MUNDO (Puerto Rico Newspaper) – W.K. Mayo, 28th of February 1967

EL MUNDO (Puerto Rico)
W.K. Mayo, 28th of February 1967 pag. 7
Translation from Spanish


When few days ago, the Emperor of Ethiopia reached Washington in official visit, President Johnson has received him at the door of the White House, saying: ‘It is a great honor for me to receive the visit of a personality as honorable as Your Majesty’.

In the words of President Johnson there was not any emphasis of protocol, nor diplomatic flattery. They were spontaneously sincere.

Haile Selassie, the Lion of Judah, historical relic of a past that is lost in the legends’ mist – Solomon and the Queen of Sheba -, is today without doubt the world figure with the highest personal relevance.

In a time of democratization and republicanism, of industrial progress, of modernization, Haile Selassie, absolute king, is the keystone of a pre-historic feudal regime. And, despite this, all the world respects him.

Africa, since about 15 years, has been agitated by a tremendous revolution. Colonies have been liberated. There have been convulsions, uprisings, military coups, civil wars… Only Ethiopia remains calm, like an island in the middle of a rough sea.

In the last 25 years, the furious gale of history has swept away figures like Hitler and Mussolini, Victor Emmanuel and Faruk, Stalin and Krushev, Peron and Batista, Lumumba and Krumah … In turn, Haile Selassie continues unharmed upon his throne of Lion of Judah.

Why ? Because this weedy little man is temperamentally a giant.

In 1935-36, when all the world humiliated itself before Hitler and Mussolini, Haile Selassie accomplished the feat of confronting fascism.


He struggled with staffs and stones against a modernly equipped army… He seemed like a Don Quixote. And he was. A black Don Quixote.

He lost the battle, but won the war.

Haile Selassie is a memorable historic myth in this second half of the 20th century.

This was the meaning of the words of President Johnson, that he said few day ago, in the porch of the White House.

The United States also owes a special debt of gratitude to the Emperor of Ethiopia.

Although old, he was one of the few heads of state who came to Washington, in the mournful days of late November 1963, to attend the funeral of President Kennedy.

The funeral procession, from the Capitol to the Arlington cemetery, thanks to the TV, the whole world witnessed it. Haile Selassie was there.

Now, having finished his official duties, he came especially to New York to visit a certain person…

The newspapers published on the front page the photograph of Haile Selassie, received by Jacqueline Kennedy, at the door of her house, in the Fifth Street.

That an Emperor moves to pay a tribute to a lady, it reflects three things: the change of times, the caliber of the lady and the integrity of the visitor.

Haile Selassie, in addition to being the Lion of Judah, he is a great knight (gentleman).”

Ethiopia in Western Culture

King Memnon

In the Odyssey of Homer, the main protagonist Ulysses speaks about the valiant and beautiful prince Eurypylus, and says (11,522):

κεῖνον δὴ κάλλιστον ἴδον μετὰ Μέμνονα δῖον.

kèinon de kàlliston ìdon metà Mèmnona dìon.

He was the most beautiful man I saw, next to the divine Memnon

In Odyssey 4,188 Homers makes another reference to him, calling him “the splendid son of the bright Eos“. The greek goddess Eos, that will be known among Romas as “Aurora”, is the personification of the Dawn, son of Hyperyon the sun deity.

Memnon, whose supreme beauty was confessed by his enemy in war, Ulysses, was so mentioned in the “Theogony” of Hesiod (984-985):

Τιθωνῷ δ᾽ Ἠὼς τέκε Μέμνονα χαλκοκορυστήν,
Αἰθιόπων βασιλῆα,

Tithonò d’Eos tèke Mèmnona xalkokorustèn,
Aithiòpon basilea

And Eos bore to Tithonus bronze-crested Memnon, king of the Ethiopians“.

As we have already seen, according to Greek mythological tradition the Ethiopians were the first to be visited by the sun in its course, as they lived next to its abode, therefore the “son of the Dawn” was the King of Ethiopia, place of the dawn of history and human life.

It is said that Memnon went to Troy with his own soldiers to defend the city from the Greek invaders. When he reached the battlefield, he stood out as the most powerful warrior on the side of Troy: he killed many Greek warriors and greatly raised the morale of Trojan army. He also killed Anthiocus, dear friend of Achilles, and provoked his desire for revenge. The duel between Achilles and Memnon represents a crucial point in the war, and it is told that even Zeus was personally there to witness. Memnon had divine weapons forged by the god Hephaestus, and was the only one able to make the invincible Achilles bleed. But Achilles was immortal, and finally managed to slay Memnon. Nevertheless, because of his killing a so noble man, he was cursed, and soon after was shot by Paris on his heel, the only vulnerable part of his body, and died.

The intervention of Memnon in the Trojan war is the central theme of the “Aithiopis” Αἰθιοπίς , another book traditionally attributed to Homer, that shows the mythological preminence of Ethiopia in Greek culture. This important work of old is lost, we know its content only indirectly and only few verses are known today.

The latin writer Ovidius, in his “Metamorphoses” (13, 576) dedicated a whole section to the death of Memnon, that terribly afflicted His mother Aurora and covered the sky with clouds of sadness on that day. The morning dew is explained there as the tears that Aurora still sheds everyday and everywhere for the death of Memnon the Ethiopian.


Ethiopia in the Bible

Nimrod and the Tower of Babel

According to the narrative of the Book of Genesis, Nimrod (eth. “Nubierd” ኑቤርድ like “Nubia”) was the first to establish upon the earth a centralized and organized state:

“And Cush (eth. Kusa ኩሳ, that occupied Ethiopia after the deluge) begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.”

In the following Chapter 11 is thus described the story of the Tower of Babel, erected by that same Empire through its social power in the land of Shinar (eth. Sennaar ሰናአር). The first verse expresses a natural premise to what happened after:

“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.” (Genesis 11,1).

If the head of the people at that time was Ethiopian, Ethiopian was also the original language, taught by Egziabhier to Adam, spoken by all men at that time, having the purest and most powerful logic and therefore making them able to build the first “skyscraper” in open rivalry with God. Egziabhier punished that people of old with the confusion of language, that was their creative and destructive power: 20 written alphabeths and 72 spoken languages came out. The original language was kept by the holy fathers, but lost by the most part of mankind. Men found themselves in incomunicability and mental confusion and their power crumbled down for many centuries.

However, according to the the biblical promises of God, that curse must be historically removed by the Messiah in His redemptive mission, and the world must return to its original condition. As it is said in Zephenia chapter 3, verses 9-10:

For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent. From beyond the rivers of ETHIOPIA my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.

Therefore, from Ethiopia this knowledge must be brought again to mankind to redeem from linguistical corruption and to fulfill the prophecy. The clock is circular like the sun, as it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end, nothing new.

Haile Selassie I - Testimonies

Charles University of Prague – Doctor of Law – 1959

Prague, July 15 1959

The Faculty of Law of the Charles University in Prague being aware, noble Emperor, of the fact that you waged courageous and persevering struggle for the defence of your country and its liberation from foreign aggressors and that you have always been a vigilant guardian of its independence,

that you as an outstanding expert on politics and law, have accomplished a great and durable work of a reformer and builder of your country for the benefit of its people,

that you have untiringly worked for the preservation of international peace and understanding and for the promotion of independence and equality of all nations thereby deserving eminently the welfare of mankind, has unanimously decided to confer on you the honorary degree of the Doctor of Law.

After this decision of our Faculty had been approved by the Scientific Council of the Charles University and confirmed by the Government of the Czechoslovak Republic, we requested you, noble Emperor, to accept in this Assembly the highest honour which this University can bestow on you.

To follow an ancient custom you have first to make a solemn pledge.

Therefore, you will pledge:

First, that you will always keep this University where you are receiving the highest degree in Law, in good memory and that you will always give assistance to it by all your power, advice and help.

Second, that you will continue to devote yourself to science as you have done so far in order that truth be spread all over and that its light which preserves the welfare of mankind may radiate in the world.

Do you pledge so from the bottom of your heart ?

The conferee: – I do (Spondeo ac polliceor).

Haile Selassie I - Prophecy Italo-Ethiopian War

The Return of the Roman Empire

5th of May 1936. In this picture we have the first page of an Italian Fascist Newspaper, “Gazzetta del Popolo”, after the occupation of Addis Abeba by Fascist troops:

The Empire reappears on the fatal hills of Rome.”

In Revelation chapter 17 5-10, we read:

“And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration… And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings.”

Rome was built on 7 hills by 7 kings. His Majesty said about this mystery:

“Five years ago today the fascist forces entered our capital city. Then Mussolini announced to the world that he had established a Roman Empire in our country, Ethiopia.”  (Selected Speeches p. 334)

Rome became an Empire at the time of Augustus, successor of Caesar. Christ has born during the rule of Augustus, as it is written:

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.” (Luke 2,1)

So the ancient Empire reappears, and even Christ, as it was 2000 years ago.

Ethiopia in Western Culture

Diodorus Siculus

In the wake of the ancient historiography and Greek tradition that we have already illustrated, the great historian of Sicilian origins Diodorus (I century a.C.) dedicated the Third Book of his “Historical Library” to the Ethiopians, immediately associated with Atlas (Etièl) and his mythology. Diodorus states:

Now the Ethiopians, as historians relate, were the first of all men and the proofs of this statement, they say, are manifest. For that they did not come into their land as immigrants from abroad but were natives of it and so justly bear the name of ‘autochthones’​ is, they maintain, conceded by practically all men; furthermore, that those who dwell beneath the noon-day sun were, in all likelihood, the first to be generated by the earth, is clear to all; since, inasmuch as it was the warmth of the sun which, at the generation of the universe, dried up the earth when it was still wet and impregnated it with life,​ it is reasonable to suppose that the region which was nearest the sun was the first to bring forth living creatures..

Thus, once again, the Ethiopian origin of man is clearly affirmed, due to the fact that the sun rises from Ethiopia, and therefore life follow the same order of manifestation. “Autochthones” literally means “sprung from the soil itself”, like Adam in the Bible. Diodorus continues:

And they say that they were the first to be taught to honour the gods and to hold sacrifices and processions and festivals and the other rites by which men honour the deity; and that in consequence their piety has been published abroad among all men, and it is generally held that the sacrifices practised among the Ethiopians are those which are the most pleasing to heaven. As witness to this they call upon the poet who is perhaps the oldest and certainly the most venerated among the Greeks (Homer); for in the Iliad he represents both Zeus and the rest of the gods with him as absent on a visit to Ethiopia to share in the sacrifices and the banquet which were given annually by the Ethiopians for all the gods together.

After the Ethiopian racial origin of man, the origin of religious culture from Ethiopia is affirmed, as well as her special spiritual sanctity among all peoples. This confirms the biblical identity of Israel and Ethiopia, and the fact that all biblical culture was generated by the antediluvian Ethiopian patriarchs, like Enoch.

And they state that, by reason of their piety towards the deity, they manifestly enjoy the favour of the gods, inasmuch as they have never experienced the rule of an invader from abroad; for from all time they have enjoyed a state of freedom and of peace one with another, and although many and powerful rulers have made war upon them, not one of these has succeeded in his undertaking. Cambyses,​ for instance, they say, who made war upon them with a great force, both lost all his army and was himself exposed to the greatest peril; Semiramis also, who through the magnitude of her undertakings and achievements has become renowned, after advancing a short distance into Ethiopia gave up her campaign against the whole nation; and Heracles and Dionysus, although they visited all the inhabited earth, failed to subdue the Ethiopians alone who dwell above Egypt, both because of the piety of these men and because of the insurmountable difficulties involved in the attempt.

Here the idea of Ethiopia’s eternal independence appears, guaranteed by the presence of the Ark of the Covenant and the Sovereignty of Zion, that gave victory over any foreign aggression and even against Hercules the strongest. Independence that will be defended for another two millennia after the writings of Diodorus, until the glorious victory over the fascists. According to Diodorus, even Hercules and Dionysus tried to subjugate the Ethiopians, and failed.

“They say also that the Egyptians are colonists sent out by the Ethiopians, Osiris having been the leader of the colony. For, speaking generally, what is now Egypt, they maintain, was not land but sea when in the beginning the universe was being formed; afterwards, however, as the Nile during the times of its inundation carried down the mud from Ethiopia, land was gradually built up from the deposit. Also the statement that all the land of the Egyptians is alluvial silt deposited by the river receives the clearest proof, in their opinion, from what takes place at the outlets of the Nile; for as each year new mud is continually gathered together at the mouths of the river, the sea is observed being thrust back by the deposited silt and the land receiving the increase. And the larger part of the customs of the Egyptians are, they hold, Ethiopian, the colonists still preserving their ancient manners. For instance, the belief that their kings are gods, the very special attention which they pay to their burials, and many other matters of a similar nature are Ethiopian practices, while the shapes of their statues and the forms of their letters are Ethiopian“.

Diodorus affirms that the royal, the funeral and the religious tradition of Egypt are of Ethiopian derivation, as well as the forms of the letters in their alphabet. The Nile originates in Ethiopia, and it is perfectly reasonable to believe that its civilization developed from its high source on the Ethiopian plateau, downwards to the Mediterranean sea. This also explains why the Ge’ez word for Egypt, G(e)btz ግብጽ, comes from the word G(e)b ግብ, meaning “Pit”, the Pit in which the river Nile flows down. The ancient Egyptian language calls the same earth soil as “GEB”.

In chapter 5, the Sicilian historian finally describes the spiritual authority of the King of Ethiopia, chosen by “Divine Providence”, and worshipped as a god. He also speaks about his attachment to ethiopian ancient legal traditions, and his renowned “solomonic” wisdom and justice, for example his mercy towards those sentenced to death. All this fits perfectly with all the principles guarded today by the Rastafarian people.

Haile Selassie I - Life and Works



“During the course of the State Visit of His Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, October 1 and 2, 1963, the Emperor and President John F. Kennedy discussed important aspects of world peace and economic progress, as well as African problems and aspirations in these vital areas. The two leaders expressed their satisfaction at the friendship which has for so long existed between Ethiopia and the United States, and reaffirmed their desire to continue closer cooperation and collaboration in fields of mutual interest.

Against the backdrop of the emergence of 28 new nations in Africa since the visit of the Emperor to the United States in 1954, the two leaders discussed current problems of the Continent. They reiterated their belief in the right of the still dependent territories to freedom and independence, and expressed the fervent hope that the final steps in the transition to freedom in Africa can be taken and implemented within the framework provided by the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity.

Noting the historical dedication of the Emperor to the principle of collective security, the President expressed particular appreciation of the significant contribution of Ethiopia to the establishment of unity and peace in the Congo. The Emperor and the President reaffirmed their faith in the United Nations, and deplored any action which would tend to weaken the Organization or the principles embodied in the Charter. The Emperor and the President also endorsed the principle of the Charter of the Organization of African Unity which called for ‘respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each state and for its inalienable right to independent existence.’

The President assured the Emperor of the continuance of the interest of the United States in Ethiopia’s economic development and security. In separate discussions, officials of the two governments discussed various aspects of Ethiopia’s Five Year Plan and considered possible methods of financing the accomplishments of its programs. The United States agreed to examine Ethiopian requests for United States assistance for economic development projects and to give careful consideration to assistance in the financing of agreed projects by means of long-term loans.

The Emperor extended an invitation to the President to visit Ethiopia. The President indicated his appreciation and expressed his desire to arrange such a visit as soon as his schedule permitted.”

Haile Selassie I - Testimonies More Speeches of Haile Selassie I

Francis Ofner, The Christian Science Monitor, 1950

The Christian Science Monitor (US weekly magazine)
article by Francis Ofner
August 19, 1950



Ethiopian peasants were standing at the roadside waiting for their Emperor to return from the inauguration of a bridge over the Blue Nile. My car followed closely that of Haile Selassie, and I saw simple, black farmers stop their ruler occasionally and hand him their written complaint and requests. The Emperor had no bodyguards, nor was his car protected by an armed escort.

This scene contained symbolically the main elements of Haile Selassie’s rule: development of the country, care for all the details of his administration, and popularity with his people. Few other rulers in the Middle East would or could have risked such a direct contact with their subjects.

‘I have three priorities in serving my country’, Haile Selassie said to me in an exclusive interview. ‘I first want to expand education. My second ambition is to develop communications. And the third – I wish to secure employment for all Ethiopians’. #QHS

These were no idle words. Ethiopia has been brought from its 1,600-year seclusion to active cooperation with the civilized nations of the world during the reign of Haile Selassie. He has established schools in areas where they never existed before. From less than 10 schools that were existing in Ethiopia when Haile Selassie, under the name of Ras Tafari, became Regent of Ethiopia 34 years ago, their number has increased to more than 400 with 55,000 pupils. In addition, the Emperor’s government is financing the studies of nearly 300 Ethiopian students in various foreign countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

Haile Selassie also introduced airplanes into his country where mules have been the main means of transport. He consolidated the loosely connected feudal confederation of regional princes and kings into a centralized empire and, above all, he is abolishing slavery in this heart of Africa.

‘To develop Ethiopia, the country needs a foreign loan’, the monarch said. ‘A mission of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development is here to investigate the possibilities for granting such a loan. But I have not yet been informed of its recommendations.’ #QHS

‘My people are able to pay back’, Haile Selassie said, explaining that his country is rich in mineral resources. #QHS

The Emperor has a blueprint of an economic five-year plan prepared by his foreign experts. The $25,000,000 loan asked for from the International Bank is needed to start the financing of this plan.

The interview took place in the green drawing room of Haile Selassie’s French-styled palace in the heart of Addis Ababa. No lion cubs have been in the room, as was the custom at this court not so long ago. There was only the Emperor’s private secretary, in cutaway and striped trousers. Haile Selassie wears a British general’s uniform.

‘The United Nations will have to recognize that Eritrea, this former Italian colony, should be returned to Ethiopia’, said the Emperor, switching to foreign affairs. ‘Except for the period of Italy’s invasion of East Africa, which started at the turn of the last century, Eritrea has always formed a part of Ethiopia. It would be only just and fair to return this province to its homeland.’ #QHS

Referring to his bitter experience with the defunct League of Nations 15 years ago, when the Italians invaded his country, Haile Selassie exclaimed: ‘The Eritrean question gives an opportunity to the United Nations to show proof that they administer world affairs better than the old League’. #QHS

Haile Selassie is one of the few rulers in this part of the world who expresses sympathy for Israel. ‘Ethiopia and Israel have the same ancestors and claim the same origin’, the Emperor said. ‘We are glad that after so many centuries of persecution the sons of Israel have regained their freedom, and justice has been rendered to them.’ Haile Selassie at the same time expressed hope that Israel’s government will assist Ethiopia in the question of Eritrea. #QHS

The Emperor’s sympathy for Israel does not change the fact that Ethiopia refuses to recognize Israel and that Egyptian influence in this country is considerable. Ethiopia and Egypt raised their legations to the rank of embassies last spring. An Egyptian-Ethiopian air agreement has also been signed. A group of 13 Egyptian newspapermen visited Ethiopia earlier this year. The catching of Arab votes for the UN discussion on Eritrea and the possibility of constructing dams on Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, are both weighty reasons to keep Ethiopia close to Egypt.

Isolation has, for ages, been a brake on Ethiopia’s development and progress. Haile Selassie, determined to remove this arresting factor, brought his country to the world’s international arena long before Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia. As early as 1923, Ethiopia joined the League of Nations. It is a member of the United Nations. It has embassies in Washington, London, Paris, ministers accredited to the Soviet Union and nine other countries, and consular officials in nine more.

Haile Selassie is probably Ethiopia’s most hard-working man. He gets up regularly at 5 a.m., takes up state matters even before breakfast, which is at 8 a.m. From 9 a.m. till 1:15 p.m. he receives officials and visitors. At 4 p.m. he reenters his office and works until 8 p.m. After supper, the Emperor often works until late in the evening. He has two rest days weekly: Saturday and Sunday.

The 58-year-old Emperor speaks excellent French and good English. In 1916, under the name of Ras Tafari Makonnen, he was appointed by the Council of Great Chiefs of Mark to be ‘Regent to Empress Zauditu’. Following the passing of the Empress in 1930 he ascended the throne and adopted the name and title ‘Haile Selassie I, the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God, King of Kings, Emperor of Ethiopia’. Belonging to the Coptic Christian Church, he does not have a ‘harem’, but only one wife, with whom, contrary to customs in most Middle Eastern countries, he appears in public.

When I was invited to the Imperial Palace, I was told by the Emperor’s private secretary to wear formal clothes and to bow three times when entering Haile Selassie’s room. At the entrance of the drawing room, white-clad servants with white gloves were standing in two rows. I was warned not to address Haile Selassie otherwise than ‘Your Imperial Majesty’.

All this may appear to a critical westerner as too much of a protocol and overpompousness. However, one should remember that in spite of strict observance of rigid formalities Haile Selassie’s court is one of the few in the world where the interests of a neglected and backward people are being incessantly fostered by an enlightened and great reformer.”