Categories
Haile Selassie I - Prophecy

Child Prodigy

“Yet Lij Tafari, the way those who remember him then tell it, ‘knew’ at the age of seven that he would one day be king, and began to study for the job. He badgered his tutor for all the books of Ethiopian history that he could find and listened avidly to tales of the Solomonic dynasty of which he was an offshoot; he believed implicitly in the legend of Solomon and Sheba. At the age of five he had been a shy little shrimp of a fellow, clinging to the robes of the women in the kitchen; but with learning and knowledge came a composure that astonished the household and his friends.
Pictures of him at this period show a face that is touchingly good-looking, but the chin is held high and the eyes are aloof and the quiet confidence is evident. There is a regal look about him already.
By the time he was eleven years old he had learned enough French to converse in it with his young tutor, Aba Samuel, who had been recommended to his father by the monks of the French Mission in Harar. Ras Makonnen came back from a journey to England to find him so fluent that he mentioned his son’s accomplishment to the Emperor, and was told to bring him to Court. He made the journey in 1903. It was the first time the boy had been on a long journey away from home – though he had shot his first lion in Ogaden and helped to capture his own pony on Mount Kondudo (…)
Tafari’s appearance at Court a month later is still remembered. He was not much taller than a mannikin. He wore a rakish velvet hat, an embroidered cloak of black and gold silk pinned at the neck, white breeches and a ruffed shirt beneath. He recited a story from La Fontaine, and the Emperor, who did not understand a word, shouted: ‘He has learned it off by heart !’. But when Tafari proceeded to exchange polite words with M. Ilg, Menelik was convinced and the whole court applauded.”
(Taken from “Haile Selassie. The Conquering Lion”, L.Mosley, 1964)
*********************************************
“Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. (…) And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.” (Luke 2, 41-47)
Categories
Haile Selassie I - Anecdotes

Imperial Shooting

“Possibly you have read that when the Emperor goes out shooting the official who accompanies him always shoots first and misses while the Emperor then brings off the winning shot. This sort of anecdote though true enough in uninterpreted fact gives a very wrong impression. To begin with a second shot is often a good deal more difficult than a first – and Haile Selassie is admitted by all who know him to be a very fine shot indeed; while it is incorrect that the ceremonial – a very ancient prescription – is carried out whenever the Emperor shoots. A young Frenchman of my acquaintance, an almost miraculous shot, told me how some years ago he had the pleasure of a few hours informal shooting with the Emperor whom he paid the compliment of treating simply as a fellow sportsman and beating at the game – though by a very small margin.

‘When it was all over’, he said, ‘I watched for signs of sulkiness, or alternatively that glassy politeness which is even more indicative of the bad loser with whom the fault is inborn. I will swear that I saw no such sign. The Emperor was genuinely glad to have found an antagonist willing to meet him on equal terms and being beaten in a fair trial of skill perturbed him not in the least.’ “

(Taken from “”Haile Selassie Emperor of Ethiopia”, Princess Asfa Yilma, London 1936).
Categories
Haile Selassie I - Anecdotes

The Wild Horse

“Once when a wild horse had been brought in from the hill pastures and only partly tamed, Lidj Yassu went so far as to place Tafari Makonnen on its back and send it galloping off madly with a sharp slash of his hide whip. The horse careered wildly down the slope, young Tafari clinging for dear life to the shaggy mane. His eyes showed terror, but he clung on. With drawn face and set teeth he stuck to the mount until it tired. Yassu took great delight in this joke of his and repeated it on several occasions. He was courted by everyone in Addis Ababa since it was guessed that he would one day be Emperor. There was thus no one to interfere.
Tafari learned to take a beating, to be desperately afraid and yet to hang on. That lesson was to mould his whole character. In after years he never showed reckless bravery, but once he had set his hand to anything he never let go.”
(Taken from “”Haile Selassie Emperor of Ethiopia”, Princess Asfa Yilma, London 1936).
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 - Prophecy

The Icon of Christ Pantocrator from Mount Sinai

A picture of the King in Italy, on his first visit to the country, under Mussolini’s Government in 1924 (LEFT), and an Icon of Christ Pantocrator (Emperor), discovered in the Monastery of Saint Catherine, Mount Sinai (RIGHT), where Moses saw the Face of God.
That Icon is one of the most ancient we have of Christ (6th century A.D.), it is absolutely strange (short hair) and particularly depicts the Messiah in His royal manifestation. It is absolutely THE SAME physiognomy, even for general lines, robes, posture.
It was discovered in 1930, year of Coronation.
The christian iconist for sure had seen the picture of His Majesty before…
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 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

A.Morrison, “Ebony” Magazine, Chicago USA – 1963

Ebony, U.S. Magazine
Chicago, December 1963
“Emperor Haile, standing in New York hotel suit where he granted exclusive interview, is also called King of Kings, Conquering Lion of Judah, Elect of God and Defender of the Faith. A newsman who met the Emperor in Africa once observed: ‘When he turns those eyes on you, you get a funny feeling like you were going to melt’.”
(…)
“If there is such a thing as a ‘kingly air’, the Emperor has it”, observed an important U.S. State Department official who accompanied the five-foot-four monarch on his eight-day U.S. visit”
(…)
“On a cool October morning, Emperor Haile Selassie fulfilled in part the biblical prophecy that Ethiopia shall one day ‘stretch forth its hand…’. On that occasion, the little man who for one dramatic hour in 1936 became the conscience of the world, extended the hand of brotherhood to 20 million Americans of African descent, urging them to have faith in their future as free men and to press on with their current struggle for freedom until it is won. He also urged American Negroes to recognize their stake in Africa’s fight against colonialism.
The Emperor’s eight-day state visit (his second) to the United States stirred images that still lingered after 27 years, images of a bewhiskered monarch astride a white stallion leading barefooted Ethiopians against the invading Italian army. Ethiopian spears dueling Italian machine guns. Rocks challenging aerial bombs. Flaming patriotism versus poison gas. And Emperor Haile Selassie pleading to the League of Nations for aid and accurately predicting that Ethiopia’s fall would be a bell tolling the death of the League.
The events of 1935-36 haunted Emperor Selassie during his visit to Philadelphia, Washington and New York, flitting in and out of his talks with President Kennedy and other Americans. (…)
This was my second meeting with the legendary King of Kings. The first confrontation had taken place in 1961 in the richly-ornamented study of his gilded palace in Addis Ababa. (…)
My second meeting was more brief. Emperor Selassie displayed a remarkable composure under rapid-fire questioning and was prepared to continue the interview indefinitely if his schedule had permitted. He apologized for closing the interview, explaining that New York City had arranged a ticker tape welcoming for him and he ought to be there for it. (…)
“Emperor Selassie is the 225th head of the world’s oldest independent state, a 3000-year-old nation that, as one observer put it, ’emerged when England and France were unconceived and the United States inconceivable’. But while contemplating his nation’s extended past, the 72-year-old monarch does not lost sight of the present.”
Categories
Haile Selassie I - Teachings

Learn Languages

“Difference in language often creates misunderstanding, and can seriously affect the responsibilities that are being bestowed on you. Lack of knowledge of the national language will be a barrier for the education we have in mind for you. In addition to your national language, it is necessary for you to acquire knowledge of a foreign language, for in this way you will not only acquire the basic education, but also will be able to attain the University standard. It is imperative that you encourage your children in the acquisition of education. It is exceedingly difficult for you to fulfill your duties as members of Parliament through interpreters. We have opened the door to education, and it is your duty to use that education. If, through idleness, you do not avail yourselves of this opportunity, you will have condemned yourselves to ignorance.”

–  H.I.M. Haile Selassie I – Ogaden Speech, August 25 1956

Categories
Haile Selassie I - Testimonies

Nelson Mandela, Conversation with Richard Stengel

Nelson Mandela, Conversation with Richard Stengel about meeting Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia
“That was an impressive fellow man, very impressive. It was my first time to watch…a head of state going through the formalities… the motions of formality. This chap came wearing a uniform and he then came and bowed. But it was a bow which was not a bow – he stood erect, you see, but just brought down his head…then…took his seat and addressed us, but he spoke in Amharic…Then, at the end of the conference, he saw every, each delegation…and Comrade Oliver Tambo asked me to speak for our delegation, to speak to Him And I explained to Him very briefly what was happening in South Africa…He was seated on his chair, listening like a log…not nodding, just immovable, you know, like a statue…The next time I saw Him was when we attended a military parade, and that was very impressive, absolutely impressive. And he was then giving awards…to the soldiers; everyone who had graduated got a certificate… A very fine ceremony – a very dignified chap – and he also gave medals. There were American military advisors and groups of military advisers from various countries…And so he gave medals to these chaps too. But to see whites going to a Black Monarch Emperor and bowing was also very interesting.”