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The Autobiography of Emperor Haile Sellassie I



CHAPTER 41

We issue a proclamation for further mobilization



We had heard that, on the war front in Sidamo, the enemy had increased his pressure and, aided by tanks, was beginning to make progress with his invasion of the country in the Nagalle area; therefore, in order to have additional troops progressively organized, We issued the following proclamation to Our people from Our Dessie headquarters:

‘The Lion of Judah has prevailed.
Haile Sellassie I Elect of God
King of Kings of Ethiopia.

People of Our country of Ethiopia! Italy has incited a quarrel, broken a contract, violated frontiers and, while disregarding completely treaties which she herself had voluntarily signed and which the League of Nations had approved, initiated destruction by battering peaceful cities, by annihilating children, women, and the aged, by burning churches, by indiscriminately killing with bombs members of the international Red Cross who are helping Ethiopians and Italians without distinction, and by dropping smoke gas which is prohibited by law. And as if this were not enough, you have yourselves seen and heard her attempts in every way possible to drop down—fighting by distributing mendacious pamphlets—words of lies and deceit to shatter the peace in the country and to stir up trouble among ourselves. And there is no-one who is not sad and resentful about this matter, among foreigners even—let alone our own people.

When an enemy soldier wanted to take and rape a woman living in a town undefended by Our Tigrean army, she pierced his heart with his own dagger and disarmed him. When she came to us, the Ethiopian people, men and women alike, were known to be burning with rage at the violence committed by Italy.

Old men, men and women, you who are able to go to war, help me with sympathy and with your money as you have done up to now. While we resist our aggressive and violent enemy, we find in the attack that has come upon us, and even in death, an inestimable recompense in the scales of history and before God.

Our God has proved that he is with us by the strength which he has manifested in Our army which has so far gone out to war. Our enemies, while unsuccessful by force of rifles alone, have not managed to shake the heart or change the mind of Our brave troops, even when those enemies attempted it by intimidating us with concealed weapons and by dropping gas smoke. Up to now Our army has resisted Our enemy with strength and has pushed forward.

As We told you when the war began, with the Ethiopian people united, We set out determined to defend ourselves until the last drop of blood is shed and to share the trials in the midst of Our army; of this not only the Ethiopian people but the whole world is convinced.

Now then, you who are natives of Ethiopia, I will give provisions to you who have none and I will give arms to you who have none; hence stay mustered and registered on the front of each province, and remain prepared to go to war under the army commander I will announce to you.

12th Ter 1928 (= 21st January 1936).’

We likewise transmitted the following advice and order, so that Our Sidamo army which had been attacked and hurt by the enemy’s force should be strengthened and that every one who was not yet a soldier should help:

‘As in this world sadness and joy occur alternately, man feels strong one day and weak on another. You who have up to now gone down into the desert, Ras Dasta had told me at the time of your resistance to attack, sickness, and bombs. You who are doing your duty, having survived not only for the sake of your own district but for the rest of the country, is the enemy to enter Sidamo as if there were no men left there? Now, for the future, not only soldiers but also you young men, who have reached arms-bearing age, be mobilized and help as soon as Ras Dasta notifies you.

19th Ter 1928 (= 28th January 1936).’

We directed that this pronouncement be transmitted to Our army in the Bale region.


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