Haile Selassie on the Triumph of Evil — words and music and stories

Haile Selassie I addressing the League of Nations in June 1936 after the Fascist Italian invasion of Ethiopia in May 1936. Throughout this speech, Italians in the chamber kept up a horrendous noise and insults.


He re-entered Addis Ababa on May 5, 1941, the 5th anniversary of the Fascist invasion to begin to overlay its memory.  


Today is the Emperor’s birthday. 

He had very large failings: crimes, human rights and political:  the failure to address repeated famines, the extra-judicial annexation of Eritrea which cost hundreds of thousands of lives.


But for courage, skill, cunning, imagination, fortitude, for his push for education and technology, his only equal was his great forbear, Menelik II, who drove the Italians out of Ethiopia at the battle of Adowa in 1896. 


Homage to them both.





Haile Selassie I born Ras Tafari Makonnen (23 July 1892 –1975) was regent of Ethiopia from 1916 to 1930 and emperor from 1930 to 1974. ♠ “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of […]

via Haile Selassie on the Triumph of Evil — words and music and stories

6 thoughts on “Haile Selassie on the Triumph of Evil — words and music and stories

    1. Thank you for this, Tish.

      It is a little surprising to me that his family never spoke of Shropshire. I suppose because their time in Bath was far longer. Wilfred Thesiger was, of course, born in Addis Ababa during his father’s long service there in a very large and beautiful compound dating from Menelik’s time. He would have learned to ride horses there. Thesiger remained attached to Ethiopia his whole life.

      You wonder, sometimes, whether such near-heroic people exist any more. Perhaps it is the times that are not heroic?
      Although with our ongoing cataclysmic catastrophes, we can’t say this is true really?

      1. Some people still talk of the Shropshire visit. I think Haile Selassie impressed the ‘proud Salopians’. I’m thinking that we may well have heroes, but those in power do all they can to silence and disarm them. Am feeling v. despairing just now. The lies we are told, and so many prepared to believe them. And even worse, defend them against all rationality!

      2. I have given up despair (but then I learned when young to give up despair because Ethiopia is always on a knife edge – of civil war, of widespread hunger, of ethnic and religious disturbances and I would have gone down young if I had not given up despair).

        Tish, you are in the best position for no despair and cautious optimism. You may not see big change, but there is a ton of little changes and they are mounting. We are going through a pronounced liminal phase and there are rules for living through it and getting out of it. These rules are an adaptation of the rites of passage still practiced on numerous occasions throughout the world, especially outside the west.

        Michael Shaw and Colin Campbell below speak to this. It may hearten you to remind yourself.

        Listen or re-listen, please, to Michael Shaw (the mythographer, not the actor!) talk at Temenos.


        Listen again to Colin Campbell, the wisdom teacher, born in Zimbabwe and lives in Botwsana, son of an anthropologist, grandson of a healer.


        You see Boris Johnson on your screens more than I do. ISo I have noted with shock that something has left him. A part of his old force. Almost as if a vertebra has been fractured. He is on his slow way out. How many people don’t understand that the Tories sold out the country to Russians for the benefit of their own party? And Trump also: out in November.

        There are many people who can tell right from rubbish especially as people are actually dying because of these lies told us.

        Changes are coming. I look out and listen out for them. Huge ecological movement. Huge movements against state aggression against some populations. Women on the move again. It is reported today that significant numbers of evangelical women in the US have tossed Trump. Etc.

        I am ‘cautiously optimistic’!

        Thanks again for pointing to the article about HSI!


      3. Many thanks for those links, Sarah. I had forgotten about Martin Shaw. A neighbour had pointed me in his direction a while ago, and I had let him slip out of my mind. Much to think of there: the need to simply accept the state of discomfort for now; listening out for what it may reveal. ‘The time of the wolf’ – that has great resonance too. As for Boris, I know exactly what you mean. All bluster, or ‘boosterism’ as he calls it, and no content. And I agree too that we are going through a liminal change, and perhaps at heart there is optimism for the longer term. In the meantime I suppose I see us more in hyena time than wolf time. Take care, and thank you again for all those timely resources.

  1. I met Haile Selassie and he toured our work. I lived 5 years under his reign and have been in Ethiopia durind 3 other rulers. He was far and away the best, in my opinion.

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