The Autobiography of Emperor Haile Sellassie I - Volume 2



Immediately after We arrived in the Sudan, We felt it necessary to gather together Our nobility and army. Accordingly, first of all, We sent a message to those who were in Jerusalem. Among them We summoned Etchege Gebre Giorgis, Fitawrari [later Ras] Biru, Dejazmatch [later Ras] Adafrisaw [YeNado], and Dejazmatch Abebe Demtew. Then We decided that letting Our people know of Our arrival in the Sudan was essential... and broadcast the following message over Radio Khartoum.

The voice you are listening to is the voice of your emperor, Haile Sellassie I.

Patriots of my country: while We were working hard to bring the country, which our forefathers had preserved, at the cost of their blood and bones, to the highest stage of civilization, our traditional arch-enemy, Italy, envious of our progress, violated our boundary and unleashed a brutal war against us. You are all aware of this. After defending Our country with all the capacity We were able to muster, We came to the League of Nations and friendly countries in order to secure assistance. While We continued negotiations, you the patriots of Ethiopia, did not lay down your swords, nor did you retreat from the battle front, nor have you thrown away your flag.

Refusing to be governed by aliens, you fought, with exemplary courage, against an enemy by far superior to you in terms of armament.

Your major weapon was your innate heroism, and your hope was the God of Ethiopia. You struggled relentlessly day and night in the ravines and deep gorges. Now, your unceasing struggle... and your sacrifices have borne fruit.

When Italy violated the sanctity of our borders, Great Britain and France... made her pay fines. But now they have given Us the assistance We long have yearned for, and We are back to rescue you.

The mighty fighter planes of Britain and France now fly over Italian territory as well as over Ethiopian air space. In Europe, Italy is being paid back for her attack from the air and through artillery. I am confident that her ground forces will not escape you, the patriots of Ethiopia.

Those of you who are under Italy's control, wherever you are, do not believe... false propaganda. Hereafter, if you continue to be Italy's instrument, you will leave behind only infamy for your descendants.

Today, tyrannical governments have risen to prominence in the world. They separate the same people from one another and persecute them like beasts. Although time appears to be in their favor, do not forget the saying, 'in unity, a bunch of threads will be able to trap a lion'. Big or small, adult or child alike, rise up from horizon to horizon against the Italians.

* * *

After this, We air-dropped the following proclamation on Hamle 1, 1932 [July 8, 1940]:

Ethiopia Shall Stretch Out Her Hands unto God:
Haile Sellassie I Proclamation

Officials and patriots of the people of Ethiopia! The free people of the world have admired you for standing up against the enemy without losing hope, letting your forces divide, and fighting heroically for five solid years. You have earned their friendship. The agony you have borne, the sacrifices you have made and the gallantry you have shown have not been in vain. The day of your salvation has arrived.

The government of Great Britain has given Us its mighty armed forces so that we can regain our full independence.

Behold, I am also back with you.

Let us thank God, for He has turned His face of mercy upon us. Let us also thank and remember the heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice on the battleground and the many thousands of Ethiopians who fell victim to fascist Italy's brutality.

Officials and patriots of the people of Ethiopia!

The government of Italy has declared war on Great Britain. It did so because Great Britain blocked its supply line when the aggressor invaded our country and insisted that the charter of the League of Nations be respected.

Now you know what you should do.

Those of you who had enlisted with the enemy, join the patriots immediately and help your country. From now on, do not put your word and power at the service of the enemy. Wherever you find the enemy, attack him, block his way and limit his mobility, strike and crush him.

Gallant patriots of Ethiopia!

I am aware of what you have done individually. I anticipate seeing more of your heroic deeds. Patriots, show your gallantry; clergymen and elders, help in rendering advice to our people; farmers and traders as well as other workers, be strong in your respective work for the sake of your country; all of you will be rewarded for your labor in due time.

[You,] the people of Hamasen, Akele Guzay, Seraye, Beni Amer, Habab, Mensa, all those who are on this or the other side of Mereb, I tell you to cooperate with your Ethiopian brothers. Hereafter, not a single one of you should be a tool for the Italians. Do not fight your mother Ethiopia or Our allies, the British. I know the wishes of your hearts. It is the wish of the rest of the Ethiopian people as well. Your fate is tied to the rest of the Ethiopians.

People of Ethiopia! Just as you shared the suffering of war, in the peace to come, you will be sharing the fruits and joy of reconstruction and progress for our country, which will be effected with the assistance of the League of Nations, especially the help of Great Britain, with whom We have been in alliance. We will improve and perfect the system of Our government. The adminstration of Our country will be replaced by a new and civilized one. We will also strengthen Our relations with other peoples. We will work for the expansion of trade, agriculture, education and art. We would like to see an independent and prosperous Ethiopia in which our people may live in freedom, justice, unity and access to knowledge. Such good fortune is in the hands of the gallant children of Ethiopia.

People of Ethiopia! Let us now be worthy of the assistance that Great Britain has provided us. The British are only intent on destroying the common enemy and restoring the full independence of Ethiopia.

Other than this, they want nothing from our country.

Therefore, wherever you meet British officers and soldiers, welcome them with courtesy because they are the ones who came to us [to help] regain our freedom. Do not forget that they are comrades-in-arms and distinguished guests of each one of us.

Long live free Ethiopia!
Long live Great Britain!

On Friday, Hamle 5, 1932 [July 12, 1940], a meeting was held in which His Holiness Etchege Gebre Giorgis, Fitawrari Biru, Dejazmatch Abebe Demtew, Dejazmatch Adafrisaw, Ato Wolde Giorgis and Ato Lorenzo Taezaz were in attendance. We asked them for their opinions about Our march into Ethiopia.

First of all, since he recently had been in Ethiopia, Lorenzo Taezaz spoke about what he saw there. He explained: "the people are saying, supply us with airplanes and weapons; we have been denied justice, and we need His Majesty to return". He also said that the people were fighting with such weapons as machine guns which they captured from the enemy. Following this, the list of the assistance given to Us by the British was read out. Then the minutes of [Lorenzo's] meeting of July 4 with Colonel Sandford was read out. This was a report which had eight parts.

After this We asked the noblemen to express their opinions. Dejazmatch Abebe Demtew said, "we have no idea to express except listening to what His Majesty has to tell us."

We responded by saying: "We would like to hear what you have to say. We do not want you to be led by Our ideas alone. Tell Us what you have to say and afterwards, We will tell you what Our ideas are."

Fitawrari Biru remarked that the assistance provided by the British was much less than what was required. In fact, he said, if airplanes are not to be provided, it means we are back to... [1935-36] If so, let us go and die on our [own] soil."

Dejazmatch Abebe also expressed his disappointment over the lack of airplanes and indicated that the rifles provided by the British were of poor quality. He also added, "if there is no prospect of getting better rifles, let us forget it and continue our march."

Dejazmatch Adafrisaw said:

it would have been better if we had airplanes. Nonetheless, we are close to our country's borders, and to continue to bicker with [the British] on this matter is pointless. Either they will reconcile [with Italy] and turn us into prisoners; or else they may fail to muster sufficient capability and all our plans will be frustrated. Let us take what is offered, therefore, and enter our country as quickly as possible.

After this Fitawrari Biru suggested, "it would be better if Your Majesty discussed the matter with the [British] officers." Finally, his recommendation was agreed upon and a decision was made. The proposal was communicated to Colonel Sandford and he left.

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October 29, 2017