The Autobiography of Emperor Haile Sellassie I
Our return to Addis Ababa
Our army, which had advised that we should fight at Koram and had taken an oath to this effect, was beginning to disperse claiming they had been told to go on the road to Lasta; they proceeded on their march with mutual recriminations.
The chiefs who had remained with Us observed the condition of the army and remarked to Us that it would be better to retreat to the area behind us and to fight in Lasta or Yajju. However, as We were convinced that it was not a useful enterprise to do things on Our own without an army, We departed from Edda Agafari on Sunday, 27th Magabit (= 5th April 1936), at 12 o’clock (= 6 p.m.), marched through that night and then rested at Lat Giyorgis at a cave called Gureza.
We spent the day of Monday, 28th Magabit (= 6th April), at Lat Giyorgis and then marched at 12 o’clock (= 6 p.m.) to Gura Maryam; there we remained during the day of 29th Magabit (= 7th April) and departed at 11 o’clock (= 5 p.m.) resting at Marawa at a place called Maryam Mahdar. On Wednesday, 30th Magabit (= 8th April), We stayed at Mahdar during the day and left for Azazge at 10 o’clock (= 4 p.m.). There we remained a little and at 6.30 (= 12.30) we continued the march, reached Lasta Geraretch and rested there.
On Saturday, 3rd Miyazya (= 11th April), We crossed the Takazze, and when we had arrived at Telasfarre Sellasse We spent the night at church to celebrate the festival of the Resurrection (Easter).
On Sunday, 4th Miyazya (= 12th April), We spent the day at Telasfarre Sellasse on account of the Easter festival and also remained there overnight. As prior to this day the army, which was on the move, had marched onwards, a journey of three or four days, We transmitted the following order with the intention that no harm should befall either those who had gone ahead or those who had remained behind:
After this message had been received, Ras Getatchaw and Ligaba Tassaw stopped and waited in a district called Gemwasha, but other chiefs and troops, having gone ahead, lost many men when the country people attacked them.
On 5th Miyazya (= 13th April), at nine o’clock (= 3 o’clock), We set out from Telasfarre Sellasse and marched to the churches at holy Lalibala. Among the great notables in Our retinue were Abuna Petros and Etchage Gabra Giyorgis, H.H. Ras Kassa Haylu, Dejazmatch Wand Bawassan Kassa, Dejazmatch Abara Kassa, Dejazmatch Walda Ammanu’el Hawwas, and Dejazmatch Adafersaw Yenadu.
On this day, at four o’clock in the evening (= 10 p.m.), We reached Lalibala and stayed the night in the house of H.H. Ras Kassa. At ten o’clock during the night (= 4 a.m.) We went to Beta Maryam Church and had mass celebrated there.
On Tuesday, 6th Miyazya (= 14th April), We toured and visited all the churches of holy Lalibala. On this day the American missionaries who were at Lalibala received Us and offered Us hospitality. Subsequently We went out to visit Ashatan Maryam; later We returned and again spent the night in Ras Kassa’s house.
On 7th Miyazya (= 15th April), at eight o’clock at night (= 2 a.m.), We departed and began Our march; in the morning We paid homage from afar to the Church of Holy Na’akweto La’ab and then passed on to Gannata Maryam. When We arrived there, the priests of Gannata Maryam said the msebho prayer (the Magnificat) and received Us with songs. Subsequently We returned to Telasfarre, and arriving there at six o’clock (= noon) We spent the night there.
As We had previously heard of some clashes occurring between the army on the march and the country people, We issued the following proclamation, so that troops as well as peasants should stop the quarrel amongst themselves and concentrate only on resisting the enemy.
Subsequently We transmitted the following written orders, in particular to the army marching with Us:
Since Our army had turned back in disarray, it was clearly a useless matter for Us alone to carry on the work together with a few of Our men. The plan which We had conceived, i.e. of going ahead to Yajju, taking up position there and to fight, had remained unfulfilled. Similarly, all the places which We had intended to be used for fighting had been occupied by the enemy who had got there first, and therefore We had to march being conducted along directions and routes which We had not intended to take. In the districts which We had to traverse We certainly encountered things which were troublesome for Our convoy.
The districts through which We passed on Our way from Maytchaw to Addis Ababa were: Saqota, Lasta, Wadla, Dalanta, Warrahimanu, Tanta, Ali Bet, Abbay Bet, Lagamba, Lagahida, Jamma, Mida, Marhabete, Sallale, and Fitche. We passed all these and entered Addis Ababa at three o'clock (= 9 a.m.) on Thursday, 22nd Miyazya 1928 (= 30th April 1936).
Electronic edition created and published online by members of the
June 3, 2017