Haile Selassie – Emperor Everlasting Of Ethiopia

 

Haile Selassie – also known as Ras Tafari – is perhaps the best known inspirational icon to hail from the North Easterly Country of Ethiopia, which is easily found on a wOrld atlas, as the country sits within the “horn” of Africa and although this famous political figure is no longer here on planet earth in bodily form, Haile Selassie still lives on in the halls of political and iconic fame … 

 

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Early Years & Stately Promotions Befitting Of An Emperor In The Making

 

Born into Ethiopian royalty, his name @ birth was Tafari Makonnen Woldemikael and he made his entrance into the wOrld on the 23rd of July 1892, which made him a “Saturday’s child” (works hard for a living) and a Leo by horoscope star sign. It is widely believed by many in Ethiopia and the wOrld @ large, that Tafari may have even been a descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheeba who reigned in their respective kindgoms @ round about the tenth century before Christ.

 

Due to his royal heritage Tafari was schooled privately and excelled @ his studies which caused him to fall under the favourable radar of Emperor Menilek the 2nd and thus @ the very young age of just 13 years, Tafari received the highly esteemed military commander vanguard title of Dejazmach and a year later, he was appointed as governor to Selale and he soon too became the governor for the southern Ethiopian region of Sidamo and in 1911 he also governed over Harar and in the same year married Menen Asfaw who came from an influential Ethiopian family.     

 

From Commander To Emperor

 

In 1913 Tafari who was by then known as Ras Tafari led an opposition Christian party in a successful attempt to overthrow the very unpopular King and Emperor of Ethiopia Lij Yasu – and so hence on Sunday the 11th of February 1917 Yasu’s much more likeable daughter Zawditu was crowned and so became the Empress of Ethiopia. She appointed Ras Tafari as the acting ruler and also made him heir to the throne, which meant that Ras Tafari’s authority and power was second only to Empress Zawditu’s … and in some ways their dual authority of the governorship of Ethiopia complemented one another – as Empress Zawditu was deeply focused on religion and (the soon to become Emperor) Ras Tafari was more interested in politics.

 

Out With The Old Africa And In With The New

 

After Ras Tafari had recovered from a very serious bout of influenza in 1918 – which not only affected the African continent but also overwhelmed countries in Asia, Europe and the America’s and wiped out 3% of the worlds population – Ras Tafari, a keen academic, became passionate about the development of Ethiopia and the continent of Africa in general. He recognised that in order to thrive, Africa needed to move with the times and modernize and accordingly he pledged to put a stop to slavery in Ethiopia and thus championed Ethiopa’s new membership @ the League of Nations in 1923 – which in turn brought the still relatively young Ras Tafari a certain amount of celebrity abroad as well as ever increasing popularity in Ethiopia.

 

Ras Tafari knew that for Ethiopia to become a more powerful player on the wOrld stage, Ethiopia needed to export it’s natural mineral wealth as well as import goods, so Ethiopia obviously needed to gain legal and safe passage to the sea. Hence a very determined Ras Tafari  with his delegation in 1924 travelled to Europe and the Middle East, visiting Belgium, Britain, France and Italy and although none of these countries helped Ethiopia on it’s mission to secure an economic seaward bound route, Ras Tafari and his team gained first hand knowledge of westernized infrastructure such as factories and other enterprises, schools and hospitals etc.

 

Ras Tafari’s Armenians

 

Notably, during his travels abroad in 1924 when Ras Tafari stopped off at Israel, he visited a monastry in Jerusalem and adopted forty Armenian orphaned children and paid for their education and musicianship in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, they became the members of the Ethiopian state imperial brass band and they were affectionately refered to as the Kings Kids by the Ethiopians and there are still Armenian Ethiopians who are direct descendants of the Armenian orphans in Addis Ababa today !

 

Ethiopia’s African Roots And Westernized Modernity

 

Upon his return to his homeland, Ras Tafari began the important and earnest task of improving Ethiopia’s industries and factories, he used the European democratic model as the basis and example of advancing Ethiopia’s framework for the betterment of the Ethiopian people. However Ras Tafari was as equally proud to be Ethiopian as he was intensely resolute to bring Ethiopia up to date. As a result of these two ideals, Ras Tafari welcomed foreign enterprise but to be vigilant against western imperialism and globalization while ensuring the continuation of Ethiopian economic independance, traditions and values, all foreign industries were only able to have a partial stake in any given company or business, the other percentage and portion of the business had to be funded and co-owned by Ethiopians or the Ethiopian state.

 

A King And Emperor All In One

 

In 1928 Empress Zawditu apointed Ras Tafari as the King of Ethiopia and after the Empresses death in 1930, Ras Tafari also became the Emperor of Ethiopia and this was when Tafari AKA Ras Tafari officially became known as Haile Selassie. With hast and expediancy he continued the persuit of bringing positive and advantageous reform to Ethiopia by building new schools and encouraging new enterprises to do business. He also enlarged Ethiopia’s police forces and military, which in part was probably due to an increasing uneasiness of right wing European politics …

 

The Ethiopian Emperor And The Italian Dictator

 

In 1935, the power mad Benito Mussolini sought to avenge Italy’s defeat during the Italia – Abyssinia war (Abyssinia was a term for the Ethiopian Empire) in 1895 and 1896, whereby Italy underestimated Ethiopias defences and alliance with Russia and so Italy was overwhelemed and retreated like a naughty little puppy with it’s tail between it’s legs and head hung low … The puffed up with pride, haughty Mussolini was seemingly tormented by this historical military thrashing and so clutching @ the coat tails of his friend and ally Adolf Hitler, he sent his army to invade Ethiopia – after all if Hitler could get away with expanding the German empire, copy cat Mussolini thought he could enlarge the Italian empire …

 

Return Of The Exiled King

 

Mussolini’s fascist army was intially more prepared and stronger than Haile Selassie’s Ethiopian army but after about one month, Haile Selassie’s army forced back the invading Italian army, however this victory was only temporary and within a matter of a couple of months the invaders had once again gained a stronghold. As a consequence Haile Selassie and his family went into exile, leaving Ethiopia for England, he spent much time gaining political support at the League of Nations and other important political establishments to free his homeland from the clutches of Mussolini. Interestingly imperialist Britain actually proved to be a firm ally of Ethiopia and in 1941 the British joined the Ethiopians in driving out the fascist invaders once and for all and on Saturday the 18th of January of the same year Haile Selassie, his army and the British forces crossed the border from the Sudan into Ethiopia, Ras Tafari was home once more …   

 

Voting Rights For The Ethiopian People 

 

After the second world war had ended and throughout the 1950’s Haile Selassie continued to make improvements to Ethiopia’s infrastructure by strengthening the Ethiopian army and improving the education system and boosting the Ethiopian economy by encouraging enterprise initiatives and he also tried to enhance cordiality between various minority ethnic and religious groups. He also restructured the Ethiopian parliamentary system whereby he made a lower electable parliament so the Ethiopian people would have representation and a political voice, so to speak …

 

The Emperor And A USoA

 

In the 1960’s various countries within the continent of Africa set up the OAU which stands for the Organization of African Unity (now known as the African Union) which was affiliated to the cause of a Unified Africa and due to Haile Selassie’s political popularity abroad and Ethiopia’s good standing with the Europe, Addis Ababa was chosen as the OAU’s headquarters. Haile Selassie a keen proponent of the OAU went one step further and called for the formation of a United States of Africa, a concept which many African peoples still hold as a high hOpe and ideal today …

 

Haile Selassie Longest Serving Head Of State Of His Time

 

During the winter years of his life in the 1970’s, Haile Selassie had become the longest living head of state in the wOrld, this afforded him high prestige and so he made many state visits to countries outside of Africa in order to try and further Ethiopia as well as the state of Africa as a whole and he was warmly received by host nations, often taking pride of place and elevated status over and above other wOrld leaders @ the metaphorical table of the political pecking order …

 

Famine & Abdication

 

In 1973 a famine took hold in the Wollo region in north eastern Ethiopia. It wrought terrible hunger, cruel emaciation and lingering death upon @ least forty thousand Ethiopian people. Haile Selassie, was blamed for the debilitatingly high number of human and animal losses and so was forced to let go of the reigns of power and step down – although some say that Haile Selassie was ousted out of office by coup de force, nevertheless whatever the exact circumstances were, Haile Selassie’s political and kingly reign over Ethiopia came to an end on (the inauspicious date of) Friday the 13th of September 1974 …

 

The Emperor With An Unmarked Grave 

 

Haile Selassie breathed his last breath on Wednesday the 27th of August 1975. The official explanation for his death is that he died of “complications” during an operation however the doctor who operated on him refuted this explanation and many Ethiopians believe that Haile Selassie was covertly “medically eliminated” or assassinated – and the fact that the burial site of Haile Selassie, the most famous of all Ethiopian Kings and Emperors, is still unknown even up to this present day – only further fuels assassination theories … Twenty five years later on Sunday the 5th of November 2000 the Ethiopian Orthodox Church gave Haile Selassie, the sleeping emperor, a funeral fit for a king …  

 

Haile Selassie And The Rastafari Religion

 

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Haile Selassie, who’s former name when he entered the political arena – before he became King and Emperor of Ethiopia was (as has previously been mentioned in this audio essay) Ras Tafari. “Ras” means prince in Ethiopia and “Tafari” means one who is respected and feared.

 

Just as Christians believe that Jesus Christ as part of the trinity is God incarnate, Rastafari’s similarly believe that Haile Selassie AKA Ras Tafari – who is considered to be a descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba – is the physical embodiment of God. The central tenants of the Rastafari religious school of thought is mostly based on Haile Sellasie’s religious, social and political persuasions. Rastafari observers are steadfast that inspirational icon Haile Selassie is the African Messiah who will lead African peoples everywhere to total freedom and emancipation. Rastafari’s also refer to Haile Selassie as the Elect of God and also the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah and due to his presumed biblical royal heritage, he is also called the King of Kings of Ethiopia …   V/II/MMXVIII

 

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Haile Sellasie Peace demands the united efforts of us all. Who can foresee what spark might ignite the fuse …

 

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