sellassie.net * sellassie05: ethio amazon store
Ethiopian Millennium updates :
From EM
sellassie.info [books]
[beta.]sellassie.net Ethio Y2K

"An Ethiopian Boyhood"


Notes

sellassie.vtheatre.net
filmplus
2004 & After

eXTReMe Tracker


Ethiopian Books

Personal Politics Liberty is always unfinished business. --anonymous

Content copyright protected by Copyscape website plagiarism search

In Association With A&E (120x60)

sellassie.info

Music (short) LIST (amazon.com) : Ethiopiques, Vol. 1: Golden Years Of Modern Ethiopian Music * Ethiopiques, Vol. 14: Negus of Ethiopian Sax * Ethiopiques, Vol. 13: Ethiopian Groove * Ethiopiques, Vol. 3: Golden Years Of Modern Ethiopian Music * Ethiopian Urban and Tribal Music, vol. 1: Mindanoo Mistiru * Gold from Wax: Ethiopian Urban & Tribal Music * The Sounds of Contemporary Ethiopian Music - Millennium Collection *

2008 --

...


* sellassie 2006 -- Emergency Response Donation Page * All for Love Fundraising for Ethiopian Children * HIM site from Sellassie WWW & HyperBiography * Ethio-Books

TOPICS: art + video + hyper-bio + US present + past + polls + war + death + rasta + slides + history + cookbook + books + ethioblog + glossary
* 2007 Ethiopian Millennium Pages

Ethiopian & Rastafari
by Aster Sellassie, Millennium Ed.
Ethio-Music CD



Get your favorite HISTORY videos/dvds at HistoryChannel.com

There is history -- and therefore a lot of quotations.

Most of the time I get myself in trouble by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I began with my birth. This books is another confirmation.


eFood: CookBook!

Mailing List Interview with Alexey-Tafari

GeoAlaska
GeoAlaska: Theatre & Film
Education directory HIM Index content * appendix * links * list * HIM full directory * sellassie.ourfamily..com : Bookmark vTheatre! Title * Mailing List & News -- subscribe yourself * title * amazon.com *
HIM

Chapter Ten. 1935: LOSING AND GAINING

I defected in Italy and remember the stellar from Axum. I knew nothing about Africa, I didn't know my future. I am still sure that I am a master of my own fate. with a few exemptions, the accidents. I don't remember that my gender, size, environment, do I have to continue? -- all of it is not of my making. I go through myriads of events reacting to them -- and I think that I am in charge!

Destiny, the forgotten word. That how he understood birth. We, modern minds, like the accidental. He was born into a conflict, a war. He was born to answer, not to question. He was the answer to their confusions.

The time before your birth is crucial. Your path to a being is not in your hands. "To be or not to be" is a modern view of being. My presence is a long chain of events outside of my control. And for so long! My actual life is only an explosion of this eternal waiting desire to be born.

I and Esther weren't born yet. That was an important time in life of my children. Their grandmother was born and lived through the war she knew little about. It was the year 1934 of western style, September 5th of Ethiopian calendar; the new catastrophic year began wonderfully after the rains skies, huge stars and the eucalyptus trees with their night whispers. The moon light poured silver on dark green grass and smell of new life was everywhere. Edjigayeheu, the baby-girl left Ethiopia when she was eight months old. Her father, Crown Prince, Asfa Wossen, left Addis Ababa with his family. The world didn't know that World War II had began. Africa wasn't a part of the world.

Contents:

	I. THE WAR TO LOSE
		A PROLOGUE

	II. THE WORLD TO GAIN

	III. THE GOOD OF THE EVIL

	IV. THE CROWDS FROM THE FUTURE

	V. THE EXILE: EXPERIENCE OF MODERNITY

	VI. THE OCCUPATION
		1. MODERN COMMON MAN

	VII. AFTER THE WAR
		1. NO TIME FOR PROPHETS

In Addis Ababa warrior chiefs of the Noble Savage type bitterly and contemptuously complain, "Our Emperor is a businessman!" They should thank Ethiopia's stars. The astounding marvel is that Africa's unique Museum of Peoples has produced a businessman--with high-pressure publicity, compelling sales talk, the morals of a patent medicine advertisement, a grasp of both savage and diplomatic mentality, and finally with plenty of what Hollywood calls IT. (MOY)1

A PROLOGUE

Many white men personally familiar with events in Ethiopia since then say that the Emperor for years played Italian and other foreign concessionaires for suckers until Benito Mussolini gradually evolved his theory that the White Race is being aggressively menaced and must recover the dynamic attitude of Victorian England or ultimately suffer eclipse. Japan, during Depression, secured virtually the whole of Ethiopia's import business in cotton piece goods, while Italians were supplying Haile Sellassie with a powerful radio station at cut rates. As soon as it was in working order, His Majesty turned around and fired the whole Italian staff of technicians, made a sucker out of the great Italian electrical firm of Ansaldo Lorenz. (MOY)

During a visit to Addis Ababa of the King of Italy's cousin, the Duke of Abruzzi, the Italian Government reopened the question of Ethiopia's request for access to the sea. They proposed making Assab a free port, and building a motor road to link it with Das, which, it was assumed, would be connected by a road to Addis Ababa. A twenty-year Treaty of Friendship and Arbitration between the two countries was duly signed, on 2 August 1928.

Relations between the two countries were, however, at first superficially cordial. When Ras Tafari visited Rome in 1924 he was warmly welcomed by Mussolini. The fascist dictator, as his wife Donna Rachele recalls, then foresaw a "great future for Italy in Abyssinia", and conceived the idea of "developing Abyssinia with Italian labour". He found his Ethiopian visitor "a clever and cultured man", with whom he believed he could `get on very well'. With this in mind the Duce sponsored the 1928 Treaty of Friendship and Arbitration in the hope of achieving rapid Italian economic penetration through the port of Asab and a proposed Italian-road to Dase. When, however, it became apparent that the Ethiopian Government would not accept any infringement of its sovereignty, the Italian fascists turned their thoughts from peaceful pressure to outright war.2

Eritrea was under the Italian rule for forty years. Post-colonial migration (transformations).

Italian agents were thereafter actively engaged in the attempted subversion of Ethiopian chiefs, and nobles, who were given lavish bribes. Action was also taken to ferment ethnic tension, particularly in militarily strategic areas in the north and south of the country, notably in eastern Wallo, Ogaden and Hararge. Emperor Haile Sellassie commented at the time that he knew that many of his chiefs were accepting Italian money, but was confident that when the testing time came they would not betray Ethiopia. Later he declared, with unusual bitterness, in his Autobiography, that the Italians had "always been the bane of the Ethiopian people". (Pankhurst. Part 7)
He knew what they didn't know. He knew how the Italian army looks like. He had nothing to put against it. It wasn't 1896.
Fatefully in December 1934 the issue between Italy and Ethiopia was joined. Each shrieked to heaven that a collection of mud huts called Ualual, located variously on various maps, had been subjected to aggression by the other. Months afterward a League of Nations commission decided that for the Ualual Incident neither Italians nor Ethiopians nor anyone else was to blame. By that time, though, the Man of the Year was fully in the making. He flashed off cables smoking hot with pathos, righteousness, defiance and more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger which made front pages throughout Christendom. It was sheer genius for Haile Sellassie to deny that Italians used dumdum bullets instead of charging them with that military offense. It was again genius for him to cable out that in Ethiopia the local press had been ordered by the Emperor never to apply discourteous epithets to Benito Mussolini. Finally only genius could enable the Emperor to put himself -- a frail, exquisite Semite who speaks French -- on terms of friendly respect with robust Anglo-Saxon correspondents when they arrived in Addis Ababa and promptly nicknamed him "Little Charlie. (MOY)

The force came from the North. As always.

I. THE WAR TO LOSE

At 5 am on October the Second 100 thousand troops under general Emilio De Bono crossed the Mareb River. By October 6 the Italians entered the city of Ethiopian glory and Italian shame -- Adwa... and dej. Haile Sellassie Gugsa defected with 1500 well-armed men. Haile Sellassie knew what was coming. On October 15 the Italian army marched into the ancient capital, holy Axum. General De bono was a methodical and careful soldier, his advancing was slow and consistent. By November 28 the emperor left the capital for Dese -- to give a decisive battle in Tigrey. De Bono learnt to respect forceful Ethiopian soldiers, the general was too careful and the invasion was too slow for El Duce. On 21 and 22 December a new Italian commander general Pietro Badoglio sent airplanes with poison gas bombs on Ethiopian positions. Nobody counted the casualties in barefoot Ethiopian army (238). "The Duce shall have Ethiopia, with the Ethiopians or without them, just as he pleases."3

In considering official Italian accounts of the war it should be noted that the fascist use of gas is fully substantiated, and was known indeed at the time throughout the world. Any mention of gas was, however, strictly excluded from the Italian press, which was highly censored. The use of gas is likewise entirely concealed in all the subsequent writings of Badoglio, Graziani and all other Italian officers, which therefore give a manifestly incorrect picture of the war. No mention was likewise made of the deliberate fascist bombing of International Red Cross units. The Italian Ministry of Defence, even more remarkably, refused, for almost sixty years, to admit that gas had been used in Ethiopia, until forced to do so in 1995, largely through the persistent efforts of an Italian professor Angelo Del Boca. (Pankhurst 11)

Emperor knew that the only possible tactic in this war against superior military power could be a guerrilla style warfare. What was his role in such underground war? To surrender the capital saving the army? To move deep down into the south? To break army into a small unites? To let the resistance take its natural course? To establish his war headquarters in Sudan?..

He never had army, only a "delaying force" -- hoping that diplomacy will stop the war. The last hours before his run from Addis -- he went mad; they never saw him losing his cool. He tire down the drapes in the palace and they say, he wanted the capital to be looted before the Italians come in. He cursed his fate and his people. inevitable end. Yes, a few hours before he left Addis. He went mad -- his order to trash the city. King without kingdom. There were many of them in Europe.

War showed that he is just a little African king. The Great Powers of the West were real empires. He saw it before, and one the came and took away his kingdom, the way he would do it with some local king. By the of the strong. (Did he have problems with the brutal nature of history?)

On 31 March with the last and best forty thousand troops he went on the offensive -- and lost...

Suffered a breakdown Haile Sellassie hid in the country holy churches to seek the divine wisdom at the time of his nation's ultimate defeat. After the defeats at Mai Chew and Lake Ashengue, the Emperor disappeared, having gone on a pilgrimage to the shrines at Lalibela where he spent two days in prayer and mediation." (S 57-58)

He returned to the capital on the last day of April.
"Soldiers? Today there are no more soldiers; they are brigands for whom we no longer exist," the Russian adviser Konovaloff recorded the reaction of the emperor:4

Along the track, villagers failed to bring the customary gifts of food or even to come out to meet their sovereign. "The emperor himself," Konovaloff wrote, "was losing a great part of his authority... The disintegration of Ethiopia continued at galloping speed... [but] everywhere the villagers had live-stock and lived in peace." (Dugan 279)

Everything was lost. There was no army left. First week of May in Addis Ababa of 1935 was catastrophic. the capital was bombed already. "Sound of shooting in the city increased. I was told that this was the accepted practice for notifying a family that son or father had been lost in battle," writes Spencer who had a fortune to come or to leave HIM at the most climatic moments. (S 61) Nobody was in control, the mob of shiftas began to loot the city. It was the Gala's hour of revenge. Abyssinians became a pray.

On May the Second, afternoon, a train left the rail-roll station for Djibouti. Everythiong had to be dropped, even arms. He entered the French territory as a private man. This trip abroad looked like the last.

...

The Italians entered Addis Ababa on May the Fifth after a few days of looting by the Galla. They said that emperor himself ordered the trashing of the city not to leave it to the enemy on a silver plate. There was no army left to fight on the streets. Oromo shiftas took their revenge over the pride of Menelik who conquered their land and placed his capital in the valley. The Italians entered Addis Ababa as liberators from the Galla, and the long caravan of trucks with troops and arms drove for hours through the streets to demonstrate the power of the new order. Four days later Mussolini proclaimed the begining of the Ethiopian Italian empire. The crowds in Rome were intoxicated with a renewed national super-identity. This little emperor of Ethiopia was finished. Finite!

II. THE WORLD TO GAIN

He knew that the war was lost before the Italians approached the capital. H.S. knew that the war was lost before it began. Mussolini was looking for a country to concur to claim the begining of the new Roman Empire. He didn't have to look hard. Italians still remembered the humiliation of Adwa. "The battle of Adwa was fought between Ethiopia and Italy on March 2 in 1896 when Italy attempted to invade and colonize Ethiopia. Ethiopia decisively and unexpectedly defeated the Italian army bringing respect to blacks all over the world. `The most notable victory of an African over an European army since the time of Hannibal.' The London Spectator March 1896."5 The Italian came to the place where the pride of Italy was lost. Ethiopia had to join the fate of Djibouti and Somalia. Italy has to have its colonies, to an empire, equal to its European neighbors. El Duce crashed the Lion of Juda and the ancient black stellar from Axum was brought to Rome for all to see the victorious triumph over the kingdom of legendary Prister John.

I, Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, am here today to claim that justice which is due to my people, and the assistance promised to it eight months ago, when fifty nations asserted that aggression had been committed in violation of international treaties.6

The emperor appealed to the League of Nations Assembly in 1936. If Menelik made himself known to the world because of the victory, Haile Sellassie became a world leader because of his loss.

I pray to Almighty God that He may spare nations the terrible sufferings that have just been inflicted on my people, and of which the chiefs who accompany me here have been the horrified witnesses.

At the last moment he changed his mind to deliver the speech in French, he spoke in Amharic:

Apart from the Kingdom of the Lord there is not on this earth any nation that is superior to any other. Should it happen that a strong Government finds it may with impunity destroy a weak people, then the hour strikes for that weak people to appeal to the League of Nations to give its judgment in all freedom. God and history will remember your judgment.

They listen. And did nothing.Did they know what was ahead of them? Who could imagine the horrors of the biggest war in world history began. They were politicians and diplomats, they thought that they can outmaneuver the history. Austria and Czechoslovakia were about to come. Hitler and Stalin listened also. They heard the silence. They knew how to read it.

I ask the fifty-two nations, who have given the Ethiopian people a promise to help them in their resistance to the aggressor, what are they willing to do for Ethiopia? And the great Powers who have promised the guarantee of collective security to small States on whom weighs the threat that they may one day suffer the fate of Ethiopia, I ask what measures do you intend to take? Representatives of the World I have come to Geneva to discharge in your midst the most painful of the duties of the head of a State. What reply shall I have to take back to my people?

The world heard him. No, the world heard of him. The Time Magazine placed HIM on the cover as Man of the Year. He became a celebrity.

In 1935 there was just one man who rose out of murky obscurity and carried his country with him up & up into brilliant focus before a pop-eyed world. But for the hidden astuteness of this man, there would not now be the possibility of another world war arising out of idealism generated around the League of Nations in behalf of Ethiopia. But for His Majesty Haile Sellassie the year 1935 would have been a distinctly different year. If by some unhappy chance the Italo-Ethiopian war should now spread into a world conflagration, Power of Trinity I, the King of Kings, the Conquering Lion of Judah, will have a place in history as secure as Woodrow Wilson's. If it ends in the fall of Mussolini and the collapse of Fascism, his Majesty can plume himself on one of the greatest feats ever credited to blackamoors. (MOY)

Was his loss a better outcome for him and his country than their impossible victory? To entertain such a question one has to believe in God and Lord's which is ways of providence unknown to us.

Above all, Haile Sellassie has created a general, warm and blind sympathy for uncivilized Ethiopia throughout civilized Christendom. In the wake of the world's grandiose Depression, with millions of white men uncertain as to the benefits of civilization, 1935 produced a peculiar Spirit of the Year in which it was felt to be a crying shame that the Machine Age seemed about to intrude upon Africa's last free, unscathed and simple people. They were ipso facto Noble Savages, and the noblest Ethiopian of them all naturally emerged as Man of the Year. (MOY)

....

His new and different life began. His country didn't make it into the twentieth century. He did. He became known and made known his cause and his country. That was the politics. And publicity. And public relations.

Outside Italy, the Emperor was clapped and cheered during 1935 in almost every cinema house in the world. His name entered the U.S. vocabulary in such homely exclamations as, "Well! If that's so, then I'm Haile Sellassie!" In the last week of 1935, Haile Sellassie reached Broadway as a character in the new George White's Scandals. Cries he: "Boys, our country am menaced! What is we gwine do?" From then until the curtain falls amid applause which almost stops the show, His Majesty and guardsmen execute a hilarious tap dance. (MOY)

Everything was strange in this conflict. The medieval Abyssinian monarchy and the newly resurrected Roman (!) Empire. At the time of economic imperialism both had very little of economy. Both needed a radical modernization, a revolution -- the best way to start a war against your own citizens is play on their patriotic feelings. El Duce had less need for a national ideology to inspire his Italians, the idea of totalitarian state was a good enough concept. Something the thirties everywhere experimented with. Including Ethiopia.

If wars are indeed are economic politics carried out by different means, they should be consider as "international" revolutions. The third, in name only, force in this tragic comedy was the League of Nation. Even today "United Europe" is still a project, to dream of an European Union between the two World Wars was something of wishful thinking. Europe, the battlefield of modern history, was the last place to look for a peace making initiative.

If the Covenant of the League of Nations be law, then in law Ethiopia and Haile Sellassie are right and Italy and Benito Mussolini are wrong. The only trouble is that that portion of the white race represented by 44.000.000 Italians has opened hostilities and in the sphere of law Italy contends -- much too late for popular acceptance -- that under the League Covenant, membership in the League of Nations is barred to states in which slavery still flourishes, as it unquestionably does in Ethiopia. Therefore, argues Italy, the original mistake of admitting Ethiopia to the League should be corrected by ousting Ethiopia, after which Italy would have exactly as good a right there as Britain has in Egypt. (MOY)

Leaving aside the issue of slavery in Ethiopia and the presence of only one "black" leader, the League of Nations felt comfortable with the leading European countries having colonies... What was so surprising in Hitler's attitude that Germany by virtue its superiority has a right over other countries? The black and white division of the world wasn't debated much between the two great wars, the ethnicity was the racial agenda. Europe had its militant national imbitions. The Great Powers lived through what we see today in the Bosnia.

In successfully brushing aside these contentions of a Great Power; in dexterously pitching the issue of war on such grounds that the white race in general feels the future of the League of Nations to be at stake in the future of a Museum of Peoples in Africa; and in impressing even his own French doctor with his courage, his elevated moral stature and his peculiar genius for brow-beating Ethiopians while he charms foreigners, Emperor Haile Sellassie emerged in 1935 not only as Man of the Year but as the world's own inimitable "Little Charlie" for as many years to come as health sustains him. (MOY)

III. THE GOOD OF THE EVIL

Two Ethiopian Wars with Italy had an enormous impact of the course of developing Ethiopia. Since the politics always comes first, the positive input of the national wars can't make it to the psyche of any nation. A review of military conflicts as constructive forces of historical interaction is a field for future analysis. Usually, any implication of positive results of such a destructive event as war is an impossible proposition. Never-the-less, the unification of Ethiopia was possible because of the outside aggression. Especially, it's noticeable in the 1935 war with Italy; the "patriots" movement borne during this period served as means of superseding ethnic differences within the Ethiopian empire.

Both direct contacts with Europe were war, in 1896 and 1935, and they were of a national magnitude and re-enforced the direction of modernization of Ethiopian. Ironically, the Italians produced the most radical support for the policies of Haile Sellassie. The presence of an outside power forced Ethiopians to search for centralized government and to form a new national identity. Haile Sellassie's plea for changing the feudal structure of governing the country became obvious even for opponents. It wasn't a matter of eternal politics but a matter of survival. As a result the defeated military Ethiopia reemerged as a new country-nation after five years of Italian occupation.

World history is a cruel business. Ethiopia's cultural and commercial indirect contacts with Europe, the West and the world were replaced by direct confrontational experience.

Interesting aspect of this military interaction is the situation of two different historical times: modernity and pre-industrialism, National Social Imperialism and Autocratic Feudal Imperialism.

The positive outcome of two wars with Italy is naturally down played, since the paradox of "war as a means of progress" is a political and ethical trap. Alas, not if we separate the local historical motivations from global actuality of history. War is an event that goes beyond the national "spaces" of parties involved. War is an international exchange of technologies, including such sophisticated as cultures. War forcefully opens a nation for understanding of the Other, moves it on a new level of organization.

As in most cases in the twentieth century, Ethiopians benefitted more from their defeat more than Italians from their victory. This paradox best known as "Japanese miracle." Even today national sensitivity on both sides prevents us from acknowledging the fact that Japan benefitted from its total capitulation and occupation. The previous socio-political structures was radically removed and replaced in after-the-war conditions. Cynically enough, the size of catastrophe is an indication of "progress" -- a potentiality of progress. The Italian revenge in 1935 was a triumph of western technology, a demonstration of advantages of being integrated within the world environment. The Italians did what Haile Sellassie could effort -- to start the war on his own country. It would be a civil war, which Ethiopia later had to experience in order to go through the experience of modernity. War is a revolution, a break, extreme means of evolution.

IV. THE CROWDS FROM THE FUTURE

How did he lived through the after-crisis?
What was there to learn?
What has to be done?

Haile Sellassie's "progressive" policy had affected not only the church but the whole class of the Masafint, Makwanent and Balabat. Compare the battle of Adwa (1896) and the Italo-Ethiopian War (1935), Menelik had the whole ruling class united behind him. The Emperor and the Empress had kindly requested some of the governors to remain behind because the army was so large that the battle place could not be enough to accommodate all and feared that they could kill each other than fighting against Italy. Seven years later in commemorating the 7th anniversary of the battle of Adwa, Menelik held military parade in which 390 000 armed troops participated. Of these, the Emperor's central army numbered 90.000.7

There were many reasons for Ethiopians to lose, and none for the possibility of victory. The subject is well researched and documented. Except for a within view -- what did he go through during those days? What were his thoughts about the country?

Coptic church in Ethiopia never played its historical role openly. By the Orthodox doctrine church stays away from the earthly matters. If a democratic society insists on separation of the church and the state, the "original" didn't want to mix with the government in order to keep its purity.

When Haile Sellassie marched to Mai Chew in March 1936 he had a force of 31.000 consisting the Imperial guard (ca. 11 000) and the survivor troops of Ras Kassa and Ras Seyum. Why such a visible decrease in the numerical strength of the imperial army? We need a fresh study on the impact of Haile Sellassie "progressive" policy on the military organization of the state.8

That was the critical time for the whole world and Ethiopia was only a small part of the great crisis of modernism. Not only Empires and nations were in question but the very identity of nations and races. Black American intellectuals reacted to Ethiopia and Haile Sellassie with a great degree of confusion. Garvey's position perhaps explains it.

It was a criticism from a man who started "the cult" of Jah.

The July/August and September/October [1936] issues of "The Black Man' carried criticisms "pro" and "con" about the Emperor of Abyssinia -- Haile Sellassie -- who is now residing in exile in England. The criticisms on the matter were really prompted for the purpose of enlightening the Negro world about the true situation of affairs and to awaken him from his usual sentimental dreams [...]

No one desires to be unfair to Haile Sellassie. The only sad thing is that he has been unfair to himself, to his country and his countrymen, by acting in a manner not consistent with ordinary political intelligence necessary to our age, in understanding the machinations, cunning and vile methods and systems of Governments and peoples.

Those who pay a little attention to European and American politics, must wonder, with great astonishment, how Haile Sellassie could have made such colossal blunders in ignoring the sacred trust imposed upon him, of jealously safe-guarding the interest of the country and people whom he elevated himself to rule so as to prevent them from falling into the very covetous hands and under the domination of an enemy who made no secret of his threat toward the usurpation of the people's political freedom and the conquest of the country.

Black Americans, how much African are they? American blacks were perhaps the only big groups outside of Africa at that time. What is the main reason for Garvey's disappointment in his Ras Tafari? The relations between African American and Africans is a closed topic. Liberia became another African country with very little liberty and all the troubles of the Black continent. African diaspora and Mother-Africa have platonic, romantic relations. It was symbolic then and it is poetic now.

There were a few fight with their African brothers. (143)9 After all it was the time of Black Renaissance as we call it. Julian, Black Eagle of Harlem, he trained a squadron of pilots. In 1935 he became an Ethiopian citizen and leader of the Ethiopian air-force. No, Black Americans didn't come to fight Ethiopian cause. They have their own wars to fight. And Garvey is bitter:

He kept his country unprepared in a modern civilization whose policy was strictly aggressive. He resorted sentimentally to prayer and to feasting and fasting, not consistent with the policy that secures the existence of present-day freedom for peoples whilst other nations and rulers are building up armaments of the most destructive kind as the only means of securing peace and protection. He reclined on the peculiar policy of leaving everything to the Almighty Wisdom of the Universal Creator Who, in all history, has never yet taken political sides between two rival human political forces and powers. For God to maintain his equilibrium, He cannot take sides in human political differences between peoples and nations, otherwise He would cease to be the God of the one, yet positively declaring Himself to be the God of the other. So as the result shows, God had nothing to do with the campaign of Italy in Abyssinia, for on the one side we had the Pope of the Catholic Church blessing the Crusade and the other the Coptic Church fasting and praying with confidence of victory.

"God of Menelik" referred to Christianity in Africa.
Menelik conquered them all traveling on the back of a mule. There were no roads, only tracks, no maps. Acceleration of modernity left Africa behind.

American highways replaced railroads at the time when Ethiopia had only one railroad! The Great Depression was a result of the high modernity's success!
Fuel jets and rockets...

Ethiopia got a taste of modernity -- mustard gas. What an invitation to European family! Why not to surrender like the rest of Africa?

Garvey and Haile Sellassie both had their questions to ask:

The Italians triumphed by the use of mustard gas. Surely God was not on the side of the Italians helping them to disload the gas of death.

The Abyssinians lost. God could not have been on their side either. It is logical therefore that God didn't take sides, but left the matter to be settled by the strongest human battalion. Haile Sellassie had no equipment and no food. He never even had gas masks. The Emperor remained in the Palace long enough to give the Italians a good foothold in Abyssinia, and then when he left the Palace it was only for seeing his poorly equipped soldiers flee before the enemy and to gain time for himself to get back to the Palace and flee the country with all he could lay his hands on, leaving the unfortunate people to the mercy of the heartless invader.10

"Kings and Emperors do not hold their crowns today by Divine right," Garvey wrote. "They hold them by superior statemenship, such as is being demonstrated to us by the nations of Europe and America." That's where the Rastafari thought stopped. Superior? Like Nazi Germany? After five in the West, H/S lost his unconditional enthusiasm for modernity. Hitler's death camps were the triumph of modernity. WWII is a triumph! Mussolini's atrocities in Ethiopia were a rehearsal of the big time evil spectacle. Evil became an industry, or was it the industrial an evil in its nature? Rasta named it "Babylon." What was the whole purpose of master gas if not death? Where was the Western idea with its most valuable centerpiece -- individual? Not in the West.

Did Haile Sellassie became a reactionary in his second long tenure as a ruler? Conservative? Careful in his drive for changes? Wise?

.... We need a fresh study on the impact of Haile Sellassie "progressive" policy on the military organization of the state. I raised this point to indicate that the defeat of Haile Sellassie could be related to other factors (consequence of his policy, for one) not only lack of support from the church (again if we have evidence). One result of his "progressive" policy which could be applied to the church was the land and taxation policy of Haile Sellassie.11 This policy had eroded the privileges of the Masafint, Makuanent and Balabat, and during the war they said "Bechawun Yebela Bechawen Yemotal", and hesitated to support him."12

Now in England, he had time to reflect. Five short years of his reign and five long years of exile. Mussolini made him an offer of one million British pounds and a palace in Italy in exchange for dropping all claim for Ethiopia. There was another version of a deal -- a ceremonial position of King of Shoa. They say, his son, Asfa Wossen, was negotiating with the Italians. The Emperor should always be blemish. In 1939 Italy entered the pack with Germany and Emperor dropped the subject. That was the answer to his prayers. Haile Sellassie was a great believer in British. It was a matter of time before he will be back to his country. Choices, choices...

No man chooses his own parents. But in the last analysis, a man's ultimate worth is, in the modern world, determined by his accomplishments and his service in the cause of his nation and his countrymen. (HIM)

But in 1935 he knew little about his future. The future was bleak... He failed. He was leaving the country, the greatest sin an Ethiopian ruler could possibly commit...
It was his choice.

V. THE EXILE: EXPERIENCE OF MODERNITY

Bath, a small place in England, became his home for long years of exile. He did his best. The big war was unfolding in Europe before his eyes. Hitler was triumphant. What could H.S. expect?

As a man, the Emperor was a bundle of contradictions: courageous, cowardly, generous, avaricious, intuitively sensitive to the needs, thoughts and designs of others, suspicious, trusting, loyal, jealous, cynical, romantic and idealistic. He was fundamentally an intensely self-centered person for whom the lives of others counted for little beside his own. During this period of supreme crisis, his escape to Lalibela demonstrated that personal survival was certainly a factor. That characteristic was to mark his conduct on the flight to Djibouti and his attitude towards overtures from Italy during exile, his avarice during the post-Liberation period and, at the end, his willingness to sacrifice even the members of his immediate family. (S 62-63)

The defeat asks for a different kind of bravery. Courage of humility. And again, being on the top asks for hard choices. There are always several voices in us, which marxism calls "social functions." Very rarely they speak in unison. He was an Emperor which is complex construct, where "father" had to surrender to the "leader" of the nation, and being a "husband" could be an obstacle for functions of "politician," and so on. It takes a courage to exercise the judgement all the time and every time it's a different choice. Who was he now, a king without kingdom.

The Emperor had acquitted himself with bravery at Mai Chew and Lake Ashengue. His decision, nevertheless, to abandon Ethiopia for Europe at the moment of defeat was in striking contradiction to the inviolate tradition of that ancient nation that the warrior Emperor should seek death on the battlefield rather than flee. (S 63)13

Spencer understands the logic of his choice. There was another logic which moved emperor Teodoros to shoot himself -- and made him a folk hero for generations to come. "The realistic necessity of avoiding capture by the Italians did not count in national consciousness." (S 63) That were the logic of Ras and Rasselas. Tafari and Haile Sellassie both believed that not all was lost. He still believed in the powers of League of Nation. He will appeal to Europe. The world was different in the mid twenty century and Ethiopia was a part of it.

On the train to Djibouti. Everything had to be dropped, including arms. He entered French territory as a private person. According to Abyssinian tradition, high-ranking political prisoners had to be taken in exile; they were released only on the border with his pardon and their promise not to challenge his power again. Now they all have new common enemy -- the Italians.

VI. THE OCCUPATION

What was left behind? The country, everything. He was the first Ethiopian ruler to visit Europe, he was the first to know the exile. The country failed HIM.

Marshal Badoglio had delayed the entry of the Fascist forces in order to give time to these shiftas, the Azebu Galla, to loot and ravage the countryside and towns. In that fashion, the Italian troops would have the way cleared for them and would be welcome as liberators. (S 65)

And so they did, the Oromo nation, as they call themselves now. They, the repressed, the occupied, had their short hour of revenge.

Abyssinian pride has collapsed. Ethiopia, the empire, became a colony! Italian troops marched past billboard of Mussolini, saluting El Duce.14 They didn't feel at home in Abyssinia. Policy of apartheid was established, the race issue was born. Ethiopian became Africans. Next was ethnicity. Next were the Nazi Germans.

...

Even the forgotten currency had reappeared.
The Maria Theresa thaler, an Austrian coin of one troy ounce and 83% fineness, first minted in 1751, was the traditional currency throughout Ethiopia and the Arabian Peninsula. The peasants tested them for counterfeits by bite, taste, and ring when dropped, and also by counting the number of pearls in the shoulder brooch of the Empress Maria Theresa (nine for a true coin).

Italians were in control mostly in the cities. Their new colony was expensive and troubling acquisition....

It was February 19, 1937, when two Eritreans threw grenades into the crowd. The reaction was devastating. After a failed assassination attempt against Graziani, the colonial authorities executed 30,000 persons, including about half of the younger, educated Ethiopian population.

Three months later, on 20 May, Graziani ordered the execution of the monks at the historic Shawan monastery of Dabra Libanos. Two hundred and ninety-seven monks were accordingly shot, and 129 deacons were killed a few days later, after which Graziani proudly telegraphed to Mussolini, "of the monastery, there remains no more trace". (Pankhurst 13)

Alas, this harsh policy, however, did not pacify the country. In November 1937, Rome therefore appointed a new governor and instructed him to adopt a more flexible line. Accordingly, large-scale public works projects were undertaken. One result was the construction of the country's first system of improved roads. In the meantime, however, the Italians had decreed miscegenation to be illegal. Racial separation, including residential segregation, was enforced as thoroughly as possible. The Italians showed favoritism to non-Christian Oromo (some of whom had supported the invasion), Somali, and other Muslims in an attempt to isolate the Amhara, who supported Haile Sellassie.

Perhaps, the pride of Abyssinia was reborn in having the enemy. The outside aggression laid the ground for a unification of the country. One has to trust Lord's ways. The Emperor was gone but the country was left to resist. The people, the church, the local Abyssinian aristocracy. All are from the past...

...

At first, after his double defeat -- on the battlefield and at the League of Nations -- H/S even thought about accepting Mussolini's offer, but now El Duce lost interest in an emperor without empire. When it became obvious that the resistance in Abyssinian isn't over and Italy was forced to enter the war in Europe, H/S knew that the occupation days are numbered. Emperor went to Sudan to prepare for British campaign against the Italians.

The wresting of Ethiopia from the occupying Italian forces involved the British, composed largely of South African and African colonial troops penetrating from the south, west, and north, supported by the patriots, guerrilla-fighters. The emperor arrived in Gojam on January 20, 1941, and immediately undertook the task of bringing the various local resistance groups under his control. The campaigns of 1940 and 1941 were based on a British strategy of preventing Italian forces from attacking or occupying neighboring British possessions, while at the same time pressing northward from East Africa through Italian Somaliland and eastern Ethiopia to isolate Italian troops in the highlands. This thrust was directed at the Harar and Dire Dawa area, with the objective of cutting the rail link between Addis Ababa and Djibouti. At the same time, British troops from Sudan penetrated Eritrea to cut off Italian forces from the Red Sea. The campaign in the north ended in February and March of 1941 with the Battle of Keren and the defeat of Italian troops in Eritrea. By March 3, Italian Somaliland had fallen to British forces, and soon after the Italian governor initiated negotiations for the surrender of the remaining Italian forces. On May 5, 1941, Haile Selassie reentered Addis Ababa, but it was not until January 1942 that the last of the Italians, cut off near Gondar, surrendered to British and Ethiopian forces.

During the war years, British military officials left responsibility for internal affairs in the emperor's hands. However, it was agreed that all acts relating to the war effort--domestic or international--required British approval. Without defining the limits of authority, both sides also agreed that the emperor would issue "proclamations" and the British military administration would issue "public notices." Without consulting the British, Haile Selassie appointed a seven-member cabinet and a governor of Addis Ababa, but for tactical reasons he announced that they would serve as advisers to the British military administration.

1. MODERN COMMON MAN

Ironically, the Italian invasion was a strong force of modernization also. God answered Tafari's prayers. The Italians cemented his young empire into one country. Something which would be hard to achieve without them.

Pragmatist philosopher William James taught that all young people should be conscripted in order "to get the childishness knocked out of them and to come back into society with healthier sympathies and soberer ideas." Such conscripted service would serve as the "moral equivalent of war," enabling the state to impose upon individual rights in the interest of a common goal. Mussolini militarized Italian society and referred to his various centrally directed initiatives as "wars."

This time came. Ideology of war was applied to the organization of the state, the civic nature was re-define. War on individual -- end of liberal societies. Declaration of war on its own subjects (new concept of the citizen, service) is the source of super-power. Italy on slavery in ethiopia. Voluntary slavery -- fascism. America was the best equipped to adapt this new concept of citenzenry (Tocqueville).

[T]here is the great silent, continuous struggle; the struggle between the State and the individual; between the State which demands and the Individual who attempts to evade such demands. Because the individual, left to himself, unless he be a saint or a hero, always refuses to pay taxes, obey laws, or go to war. - Benito Mussolini

Benito Mussolini's the Fascist worldview: "The man of Fascism is an individual who is nation and fatherland, which is a moral law, binding together individuals into a tradition and a mission...."

Fascist ethics begin with the acknowledgment that it is not the individual who confers a meaning upon society, but it is, instead, the existence of a human society which determines the human character of the individual.... According to Fascism, a true, a great spiritual life cannot take place unless the State has risen to a position of pre-eminence in the world of man. The curtailment of liberty thus becomes justified at once, with this need of raising the State to its rightful position. Mario Palmieri _The Philosophy of Fascism_ (1936)

According to Fascist apologist Mario Palmieri, "The Fascist Revolution [teaches], that there is a way to end the war of classes and that this way is found in placing all classes under the protection, the aegis, and the discipline of the state."

When an opponent says, "I will not come over to your side," I calmly say, "Your child belongs to us already.... What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community." - Adolf Hitler

The war against an individual begins before he arrives on stage. Never forget, that nazism wasn't a nationalism, but mashed with socialism. No wonder that nazis went after the communists, their competitors in idea of socialization. The Jews represented the challenge to the national idea (Zionism later applied the techniques of socialism). Individual in high modernity was totally understood in marxist's terms -- a "totality of social relations." He is a property of the big tribe (nation, state, society)... Ethiopia lacked this technology of modernity. Ethiopia wasn't a nation, it still isn't. Haile Sellassie rushed to make Tigreans, Amharas, Oromos and the multitude of other cultures into Ethiopians. Mussolini came to help him.

Man is a social animal, says basic marxism. All right, an individual is nothing. Environment is everything. Away with the family, make the country, nation, society into one big family! Do you like it?

Man and the country... I know the feeling. Why in America, where the competition and rat race is always a place for one who isn't used by his own country? Betrayed by the country. Why didn't they come to fight? Menelik army was ten times bigger than H.S.

Suppression of an individual? Who is more suppressed than HIM?

Family idea -- limiting everyone? Trading love (security) for equality? Family, the false promises. What anyone could do top help me? Away with the family! Who need it, said Christ. Not when you are free, when you are immortal, when you are dead.
What country a spirit belongs to?

Why not communism... like in America? That's what the Bolsheviks thought. Why not to skip the fascism and nazism and leap onto socialism of communism? Stalin and Trotsky had their points. They didn't have a material, the people without countries, the Americans.

Oh, Hitler would like to be an Emperor, Stalin wanted to be a tsar. Look at them, don't you see it? They acted out, he was. But do you know the difference? Not in spectacular state when the crowds ask for a show. In fact, actor could be a better image than an original. You don't know that the copy could be as good as the original? Did you see the cover girls?

Oh, the tired world of modernity! Imperial impersonators. Canned laughter and applause -- to energize the public. The crowd has no energy of its own.

VII. AFTER THE WAR

This interim Anglo-Ethiopian arrangement was replaced in January 1942 by a new agreement. The convention provided for British assistance in the organization of a new Ethiopian army that was to be trained by a British military mission. In addition to attaching officers to Ethiopian army battalions, the British assigned advisers to most ministries and to some provincial governors. British assistance strengthened the emperor's efforts to substitute, as his representatives in the provinces, experienced administrators for the traditional nobility. But such help was rejected whenever proposed reforms threatened to weaken the emperor's personal control.

The terms of the agreement confirmed Ethiopia's status as a sovereign state. However, the Ogaden and certain strategic areas, such as the French Somaliland border, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad, and the Haud (collectively termed the "Reserved Areas"), remained temporarily under British administration. Other provisions set forth recruitment procedures for additional British advisers should they be requested. About the same time, a United States economic mission arrived, thereby laying the groundwork for an alliance that in time would significantly affect the country's direction.

A British-trained national police administration and police force gradually took the place of the police who had served earlier in the retinues of the provincial governors. Opposition to these changes was generally minor except for a revolt in 1943 in Tigray--long a stronghold of resistance to the Shewans--and another in the Ogaden, inhabited chiefly by the Somali. British aircraft brought from Aden helped quell the Tigray rebellion, and two battalions of Ethiopian troops suppressed the Ogaden uprising. The 1942 Anglo-Ethiopian agreement enabled the British military to disarm the Somali rebels and to patrol the region.

After H.I.M. returned to the throne, the British assumed control over currency and foreign exchange as well as imports and exports. They helped Ethiopia to rehabilitate its national bureaucracy. The changes and innovations made by the Italians during the occupation, made clear to many Ethiopians the need to modernize -- at least in some sectors of public life -- if the country were to survive as an independent entity.

The emperor made some new territorial demands, including, requests for the annexation of Eritrea, which the Ethiopians claimed to be racially, culturally, and economically inseparable from Ethiopia. Similarly, Italian Somaliland was intended by the British to be part of "Greater Somalia"; thus, the emperor's claims to that territory were also rejected. At this time.

1. NO TIME FOR PROPHETS

Prophets do not see themselves as such -- it's so obvious, the future. Why can't all see it? He saw Ethiopia's future, it was easy. He saw it through -- the vast African continent behind his empire, the powerful Europe, too powerful to hold itself under control. He was in a privilege position in between the worlds, he represented them both, the high and the low, the new and the old. He knew what his subjects didn't know, the powers which could come on them from the skies. He knew what the West didn't know; that the millions, the silent majority of human race will be there to get it their way. He was a good student of history, he remembered the first great war in Europe which they in Europe, of course, called "World War One." He saw it from the distance. It took four cataclysmic years for Europe to change its face -- where are the great empires? Austrian, Russian... British didn't know that they will be next.

Why didn't WWI complete the job? What was left? Well, it wasn't truly world wide war, the world wanted to be included into western timetable. WWI was a preview.

League of Nations? He tried. United Nations? United? Like in America? or UK? He had many nations to deal with, making them into Ethiopians.

War as a high technology of progress. Did we name it "Revolutionary Age"?

The war, big war. How big? Nobody knew it. It would take a few more years to discover that the world asked for the biggest war in history -- WWII. This war will end modernity in the spectacle of atomic bomb.

Imperial Japan, this model of Ethiopia's modernizers, would face a new imperial super-power....

According to Lenin, the two principles of the late stage of capitalism (imperialism) are interconnected -- concentration of capital and the wars to redefine the national borders. Italy was late to arrive to this stage during the WWI. In 1930 Italy was ready to try imperialism.

Technology of imperialism? Imperialism is a technology.
Tank or airplane are only concentration of knowledge, physical expression of new ideas, new feelings. Technology is a hyper-condensed labor, true hyper-capital.

The First Great War had to end with the Great Depression. Urbanization, concentration of crowd, industrialization asked for new forms of the social -- and the super state formula was born. Best known is fascism -- the super-nation. We know another, Soviet, super-state. Less familiar to us a sof totalitarism, fascism with a human face, super-society -- USA. All three model of super-collectivization manifested their intentions: New Order (Hitler), New World (Stalin) and New Deal (Roosevelt). In a long run the American model proved to be the most productive.

What is the super (hyper)? Not just superior, but supreme.

...

World as war machine. Modernity organized living on military principle. Revolutionary time is a civil war. All of us are already civilian soldiers.

Dialectics is a philosophy of catastrophe. Maximum conflict is a new engine, we have to have a confrontation (thesis and anti-thesis in order to go to the highest level). We create the situation of the catastrophe which we control.

Foucault gave us a different view of technologies of power. They don't have to be visible, or openly violent. Fascism was primitive ways apply discipline, there are discplines.

Peaceful war -- industrialization. Transportation revolution = speed is the essence of time. time is a space of speed. What is territory? "Time and space died yesterday" -- there are no border anymore. Ethiopia had no roads. Ethiopia had no cities to have the roads. War is the movement. To move is to be engaged in act of war. Mussolini didn't know that he fought Emperor's war. Garvey should look again at the Divine Providence.

...

In modern times we like to think that the past time has no hold on us, only the present. We want to believe that the present is NEW, forgetting that even marxist dialectic negation recognizes the inclusion of the past into the present. Should we say that though the negation the past become invisible, i.e. gets stronger than even before. Isn't that how the culture grows?

That is what was left there to resist -- the culture. Not necessarily the high culture but the customs and habits, national taste for food and music, sense of time and belonging, myriads invisible links and myths. The Patriots movement was born without much of propaganda and organization. Abyssinian warriors of the past, the ground forces, which Sellassie tried to control so hard from the capital, now were his supporters and last hope.

The ancient lived, there was a place for HIM to return, there was a space left -- Ethiopian Emperor.
It was his place. Was it?
How did he get back the throne?

NOTES Lost

2004 & After

projects: recipes

texts: HIM (summary)

in focus:

reading: Story of Esther

Links

Kebra Nagast online *
Esther-Thesis
antohin.wordpress.com

@2000-2004 *
[ updates? get on sellassie mailing list! ]
2004 filmplus.org *
home * about * guide * classes * advertise * contact * news * A' forums * my mailing list * bookstore * ebooks * search * calendar * web *
@HIM * Make HIM your homepage -- click here!

Ethiopians & Rastafari 2004 MA Thesis UAF Anthropology -- feedback is welcome!

* main * academics * history * books * culture * politics * family * rasta * business *
Get Site Info

Time Magazine 1935

[ Man of the Year ]

.King of Kings.

In 1935 there was just one man who rose out of murky obscurity and carried his country with him up & up into brilliant focus before a pop-eyed world. But for the hidden astuteness of this man, there would not now be the possibility of another world war arising out of idealism generated around the League of Nations in behalf of Ethiopia. But for His Majesty Haile Selassie the year 1935 would have been a distinctly different year. If by some unhappy chance the Italo-Ethiopian war should now spread into a world conflagration, Power of Trinity I, the King of Kings, the Conquering Lion of Judah, will have a place in history as secure as Woodrow Wilson's. If it ends in the fall of Mussolini and the collapse of Fascism, His Majesty can plume himself on one of the greatest feats ever credited to blackamoors.

Above all, Haile Selassie has created a general, warm and blind sympathy for uncivilized Ethiopia throughout civilized Christendom. In the wake of the world's grandiose Depression, with millions of white men uncertain as to the benefits of civilization, 1935 produced a peculiar Spirit of the Year in which it was felt to be a crying shame that the Machine Age seemed about to intrude upon Africa's last free, unscathed and simple people. They were ipso facto Noble Savages, and the noblest Ethiopian of them all naturally emerged as Man of the Year.

Outside Italy, the Emperor was clapped and cheered during 1935 in almost every cinema house in the world. His name entered the U. S. vocabulary in such homely exclamations as, "Well! If that's so, then I'm Haile Selassie!" In the last week of 1935, Haile Selassie reached Broadway as a character in the new George White's "Scandals". Cries he: "Boys, our country am menaced! What is we gwine do?" From then until the curtain falls amid applause which almost stops the show, His Majesty and guardsmen execute a hilarious tap dance.

.Goodness & Wisdom.

Without quibble or qualification the best and wisest ruler ancient Ethiopia has ever had is the present Man of the Year.

Ethiopia, contrary to popular misconception, is not a Christian country. It is not even Coptic Christian. Unroll an authoritative religious map of the Empire, such as that in the current January issue of "Foreign Affairs," and the facts are evident. In trifling quantity a few Christians are to be found near Addis Ababa, and the Coptic Christians, to which faith the Imperial Family appertains, form an island in the Mohammedan and pagan sea of peoples which is Ethiopia.

Until 1935 the country was known mainly to foreign savants as a "museum of peoples" who remarkably preserve the habits and customs of their various antiquities. It was known, incorrectly, to hasty readers of a popular book, as the "Hell-Hole of Creation." Actually the high plateau on which Addis Ababa stands and which comprises about half the Empire is suited in climate to the taste of an ordinary U. S. citizen although the altitude is trying. Rushing rivers criss-cross the plateau with deep gorges. Transportation of fantastic difficulty is enhanced by unimaginable mud in the rainy season, hut the obstacles of Nature on the plateau are in every sense susceptible of being overcome.

In the desert regions, blazing and scorching some 8,000 ft. below the plateau toward the sea, are the Hell-Holes of Creation, inhabited by tribes of extraordinary hardihood and savagery. Explorers report that "some of these peoples have never heard of Haile Selassie." It is they who today with complete impartiality harry, snipe at and loot any small detachment of soldiers, be they Ethiopian or Italian. The peoples of Ethiopia are very old but the Empire is very young. When Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes was a youth of 18 there was properly speaking no Ethiopian Empire and the future Emperor Menelik ruled, as King of Shoa, the vicinity of Lake Tana, Aduwa, Aksum and Dessye. Three-quarters of the present Empire, including Harar and Ualual, he did not rule. Haile Selassie was born 44 years ago at Harar and in 1930 succeeded his cousin Menelik's daughter, Empress Zaudito, on the Throne.

The legend that Ethiopia's Imperial Family is descended from the seduction by King Solomon of Sheba's Virgin Queen is pure myth. Last month Oxford's University Press exploded it anew with "A History of Abyssinia" ($2.25) in which the adoption of this legend by Coptic priests to give Ethiopia's present dynasty a savor of ancient lineage and of Biblical if not Divine authority is traced with British scholarship.

ntimate Glimpse.

Although good and wise, Haile Selassie I, as recently pointed out by Dr. Sassard, his French physician of many years, has never been popular among his turbulent subjects. Every conversation the physician has had with his Imperial patient, writes Dr. Sassard, "gave me further reason to admire and respect this Sovereign, who is so different from those who surround him and from his own people, and who is so superior to them. In his motionless face only his eyes seem alive brilliant, elongated, extremely expressive eyes. They bespeak boredom as well as polite indifference, cold irony, or even anger. The courtiers know these different expressions well and retire suddenly when the monarch's glance becomes indifferent, then hard. On the other band, especially when he is dealing with Europeans, his eyes know how to be soft, caressing, affable and even sincere."

Referring to his royal patient's frequent and serious illnesses, Dr. Sassard observes: "I have always been surprised by the reserves of energy and courage that exist in so frail a body.... The attention of the public and of Europe is directed at the two sons of the Sovereign. The first, the Heir Apparent, is now 19 years old. He generally lives far removed from the capital, surrounded by spies, restricted in any independent action he may take, frequently and harshly rebuked by his father... Prince Makonnen, who is 12 years old, is his father's great favorite.... Whereas a teacher was not accorded the Heir Apparent, a whole retinue of French educators has been designated to take care of the last-born son.... He has good sense, but he is perhaps a little too aware of his exalted birth and the destiny that he believes to be awaiting him. In any case it is unquestionably in Prince Makonnen that all his father's hopes are centred.

"We must give the Emperor credit for having lent prestige to moral values in his country and for having made courage, work and persistence respected in a land where only physical force had any value. The numerous Ministers are generally more or less related to the Emperor and the Emperor considers the granting of a Cabinet post a simple method of calming a noisy cousin or a belligerent vassal. Disorder and misadministration make each Ethiopian Ministry a bottomless barrel into which money flows.... Emperor Haile Selassie inherited a savage country. He will never be a leader of men, the chief of the wild hordes that his predecessors were. The Emperor knows this and the knowledge saddens him."

ld Chains; Ice Water.

After so intimate a glimpse through the eyes of Man of the Year's longtime physician, His Majesty's achievements in 1935 are all the more staggering. They are the ripened fruit of a physically frail Semite's lifetime of goodness and wisdom. It was good to cast into golden chains the Ethiopian who would otherwise have been Emperor instead of Haile Selassie, for this individual had strayed into the Mohammedan faith. Had the late Lij Yasu been on the Throne today the League of Nations might not have displayed such anxiety for the country of an infidel.

His greatest wisdom is the result of meditating on the fact that in 1914 his beloved Ethiopia was saved from being dismembered by the Great Powers by the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. After the establishment of the League of Nations, the Emperor, or Prince Tafari as he then was, figured out wisely that if Ethiopia could possibly win membership in the League, she might never need another World War to distract the Great Powers from dismembering her. To get into the League, though, was most difficult. Egypt was then and is still barred, for the reason that Britain suspected then and now knows for certain that Egypt, once inside the League, would scream bloody murder for the British to evacuate Egypt. Ethiopia was at first barred. Then Ethiopian statesmen, largely inspired by Prince Tafari, began yielding deceptively to French and Italian efforts to obtain more important concessions in the empire than had ever been granted before.

In 1923 the French and Italians congratulated themselves that a most profitable and pleasant era of Latin-Ethiopian co-operation and economic exploitation was about to open with mutual goodwill. To top off the deal with pink icing. Ethiopia at Latin insistence was admitted to full membership in the League. Only three years afterward Tafari, who had become Regent, complained of Britain and Italy to the League, having caught them exchanging notes with a view to recognizing the possession of "spheres of influence" by each other in Ethiopia. With the same technique that the Man of the Year used in 1935, but without causing an explosion of world interest, Regent Tafari in 1926 shamed and reproved white men thus: "We should never have suspected that the British Government would come to an agreement with another government regarding our Lake Tana!" Ethiopia quietly won the first League round then & there, causing Italy and Britain to drop the matter, much as the Hoare-Laval Deal was to be dropped nearly a decade later with a crash heard around the world.

.Suckers.

Many white men personally familiar with events in Ethiopia since then say that the Emperor for years played Italian and other foreign concessionaires for suckers until Benito Mussolini gradually evolved his theory that the White Race is being aggressively menaced and must recover the dynamic attitude of Victorian England or ultimately suffer eclipse. Japan, during Depression, secured virtually the whole of Ethiopia's import business in cotton piece goods, while Italians were supplying Haile Selassie with a powerful radio station at cut rates. As soon as it was in working order, His Majesty turned around and fired the whole Italian staff of technicians, made a sucker out of the great Italian electrical firm of Ansaldo Lorenz.

Fatefully in December 1934 the issue between Italy and Ethiopia was joined. Each shrieked to heaven that a collection of mud huts called Ualual, located variously on various maps, had been subjected to aggression by the other. Months afterward a League of Nations commission decided that for the Ualual Incident neither Italians nor Ethiopians nor anyone else was to blame. By that time, though, the Man of the Year was fully in the making. He flashed off cables. smoking hot with pathos, righteousness, defiance and more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger which made front pages throughout Christendom. It was sheer genius for Haile Selassie to deny that Italians used dumdum bullets instead of charging them with that military offense. It was again genius for him to cable out that in Ethiopia the local press had been ordered by the Emperor never to apply discourteous epithets to Benito Mussolini. Finally only genius could enable the Emperor to put himself a frail, exquisite Semite who speaks French in terms of friendly respect with robust Anglo-Saxon correspondents when they arrived in Addis Ababa and promptly nicknamed him "Little Charlie."

If the Covenant of the League of Nations be law, then in law Ethiopia and Haile Selassie are right and Italy and Benito Mussolini are wrong. The only trouble is that that portion of the white race represented by 44,000,000 Italians has opened hostilities and in the sphere of law Italy contends much too late for popular acceptance-that under the League Covenant, membership in the League of Nations is barred to states in which slavery still flourishes, as it unquestionably does in Ethiopia. Therefore, argues Italy, the original mistake of admitting Ethiopia to the League should be corrected by ousting Ethiopia, after which Italy would have exactly as good a right there as Britain has in Egypt.

In successfully brushing aside these contentions of a Great Power; in dextrously pitching the issue of war on such grounds that the white race in general feels the future of the League of Nations to be at stake in the future of a Museum of Peoples in Africa; and in impressing even his own French doctor with his courage, his elevated moral stature and his peculiar genius for brow-beating Ethiopians while he charms foreigners, Emperor Haile Selassie emerged in 1935 not only as Man of the Year but as the world's own inimitable "Little Charlie" for as many years to come as health sustains him.

So What? In the actual zones of Ethiopian war, the number of square miles over-run by Italian forces as the year ended was about 30,000 a mapmaker's fact of doubtful significance. Neutral military experts in Washington, Berlin, Paris and London consider that Premier Mussolini's deepest purposes have not yet been revealed, but that unquestionably he has hamstrung his soldier's war in East Africa by political and diplomatic back-seat driving from Rome. Darting raids by Italian bombers, unaccompanied by troop operations on the ground, have resulted in little more than the enemy's terror and disorganization. After major advances there have been sudden, desultory lulls. Because concurrent maneuvers on the Diplomatic Front have been secret and clandestine, Il Duce is perhaps as good a judge as any of whether bombs and calms judiciously sprinkled in the world press have much affected the game on Europe's green tables. In soldiers' eyes the Italians have made a wretched showing in Ethiopia, and to soldiers Italy's diplomatic showing looks even worse, with Anthony Eden up.

The first and drier half of Ethiopia's "dry" season, in which alone military operations are possible, is now over. Bombs sprinkled around the Man of the Year have failed to get him. If Calvin Coolidge and the U.S. Marines, unhampered by Sanctions, never did succeed in bringing General Sandino to reason in Nicaragua, all the more reason for Haile Selassie to feel that his goose hangs high. On the other hand, should Mussolini decide that the diplomatic game is up, Italy's forces should be able to give a better account of themselves than they have thus far.

.New Deal.

Few months ago Dr. Sassard wrote of his patient: "The Emperor will undoubtedly fight at the head of his troops." In ringing proclamations His Majesty has more than once promised to do so. Simple Ethiopians expect any ruler worth his salt to remain for the duration of the war physically in the thick of the fight. Instead, both before hostilities began and since, Haile Selassie has kept Europe's diplomats well supplied with offers to make peace by selling or bartering parts of the empire, emitting at the same time declarations to the world press that he will part with "not an inch" of Ethiopian soil. If these Imperial activities resemble a Semitic tradesman's strident, righteous protestations and simultaneous readiness to compromise, they are not the Man of the Year's fault but aspects of his God-given character.

In Addis Ababa warrior chiefs of the Noble Savage type bitterly and contemptuously complain, "Our Emperor is a businessman " They should thank Ethiopia's stars. The astounding marvel is that Africa's unique Museum of Peoples has produced a businessman with high-pressure publicity, compelling sales talk, the morals of a patent medicine advertisement, a grasp of both savage and diplomatic mentality, and finally with plenty of what Hollywood calls IT. The Emperor was "too smart" only once in 1935, when he tried by granting the Rickett Concession to Standard Oil to embroil the U.S. directly in Ethiopia's defense. In His Majesty's favorite phrase the entire situation is still "subject to negotiation."

Fortnight ago the Imperial Businessman had instructed Al Smith's publicity director, Josef Israels II, to tell the world that His Majesty was willing to settle on terms only slightly more generous to Ethiopia than those offered by The Deal of Hoare & Laval. He was willing to yield a great chunk of his empire in exchange for peace and a corridor to the Red Sea. The resignation of Sir Samuel Hoare and the tribulations of Premier Laval last week caused the Imperial Businessman to propose a completely New Deal. Ethiopia's new "basis for discussion," with which the Man of the Year masterfully closed 1935, are that: a) Mussolini's forces are to withdraw; a) Italy is to pay an indemnity to Ethiopia, and 3) the Great Powers excluding Italy are to be invited to a new game of giving economic, administrative and financial "assistance and advice" to Ethiopia, with Haile Selaisie holding all the trumps and calling it Civilization.

TIME EUROPE October 28, 1935

Ethiopia: Shammas into Dirt

During the past weeks thousands upon thousands of Ethiopian warriors have marched past their Emperor in Addis Ahaba before going off to the front and thousands upon thousands more will probably do so in the weeks to come. What made last week's march-by notable were the facts that the Minister of War, grizzled Ras Mulu Getta, was personally leading 100,000 troops to war, and that those near the reviewing stand heard their sad-eyed little Emperor deliver his most moving campaign speech to date.

One chief, followed by his own band of delirious drummers, was bitterly disgraced when his mule suddenly shied in front of the royal stand and sent the rocketing Ras sprawling on the ground. Proudest of the warriors was General Machacha's chief adjutant who went cantering by on a donkey, magnificently arrayed in stiff shirt, dinner jacket, crossed cartridge belt. To these and their followers bushy whiskered little Power of Tnnity cried: "It is not the Emperor who wants war but the Italians who are pushing the fight. We will all die one day, either by typhus or pneumonia, but it is much better to die for your country.

"The Italians will try to repulse you with machine guns. They have machine guns but we have God on our side.

"We urge you not to fight in the traditional old way of massing against the enemy. Guard against hot-headedness, because if the enemy discovers you in angry groups he will burn you as wood in a blaze. . . . If you see an airplane, leave the open spaces and hide in the forest. All soldiers with good guns should then shoot at the plane When fighting begins you will be within range of the Italian guns. Divest yourselves of shields and spears, because they will form a brilliant target.

"Do not wash your shammas.* Allow them to become dirty and therefore less visible. When we have defeated the invader you may again take up your shields and don clean clothes.

"Comrades I shall be with you on the battlefield to shed my blood freely with yours in defense of our common fatherland. We shall accept no such peace terms as those France proposes. I shall die with you if necessary rather than submit to such humiliation."

Railway Bargain At Awash last week, at the edge of the spidery railroad bridge crossing the Awash River, a Swiss machine gun expert named Whittley was working like mad to protect the only railway in Ethiopia at its most vulnerable point. For this purpose he had at his disposal a carload of Swiss anti-aircraft machine guns of the latest model, all the ammunition he required, and a thousand black soldiers who were the worst shots Expert Whittley had ever seen. Finally he figured out a system to offset his gun crews' miserable marksmanship.

Because of the steep slopes on either side of the railway line any Italian plane attempting to bomb the bridge must fly low directly overhead. Whittley arranged his guns in star-shaped formation with sights screwed tight and set for an imaginary point just above the centre of the bridge. Providing the Ethiopian soldiers remembered where the triggers were at the right moment, they were sure to pink any plane that entered the field of fire.

The official name of the only railway in Ethiopia is Compagnie du Chemin de Fer Franco-Ethiopien de Djibouti Addis Ababa. Between magnificent modern stations at either end of the line stretch 494 miles of rough, single-track narrow-gauge roadbed over which a collection of ramshackle second-hand French rolling stock normally makes bi-weekly trips. One of the few pieces of equipment which can compare in splendor with the two terminals is Emperor Haile Selassie's white private car. Because natives along the barren right-of-way are in the habit of prying up steel rails to beat into swords and spearheads, ordinary trains travel only about 10 m.p.h., take three full days to make the trip. Pride of the line is the Addis Ababa Flyer, a weekly express that in the dry season covers the 494 miles in 36 hours. Nothing moves at night.

In 1894 France persuaded suspicious Emperor Menelik to let her build an Ethiopian railroad. Not till 1917 was the last spike driven. Since then the road has carried 75% of Ethiopia's foreign trade, and in 1933 returned a profit of 200 francs per transported ton to its French investors, who then owned 20,000 out of 34,000 shares. Part of Pierre Laval's deal with Benito Mussolini last January was the sale of 2,500 French shares of railroad stock to the Italian Government.

Early this month France quietly did her best to make sure that there would be no bombing of her road by moving 200 white and colonial troops into Dire Dawa, biggest town along the line, as a railway guard. Britain, which already had a heavily armed force at the British legation at Addis Ababa, warned Rome that becauae of the number of foreigners at Dire Dawa and Addis Ababa, any attempt to cut the railroad to Djibouti and the outside world would be considered an unfriendly act. Heeding all this, Italy last week was reported to have offered to spare the railroad if Emperor Haile Selassie would remove all troops and munitions from Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. The King of Kings was supposed to have turned down this proposal on the ground that he needed his troops in those two towns to protect foreigners from his civilian subjects. Next offer was to spare the road if Ethiopia promised to transport no munitions on it. Haile Selassie appeared to leap at this idea. Since the League lifted its arms embargo against Ethiopia, guns and ammunition have been coming into the black empire, not by way of the railroad from Djibouti but by motor truck to Harar 125 miles from the British Somaliland border.

*The white cotton wrap-around by all Ethiopian men

HIM photo-archives:

rate Film-North * webmaster.
* You are free to link to any page in filmplus.org/him.
2005 by vtheatre.net * books.google.com + scholar.google.com

HIM home: appendix * books * new * references * FAQ * links * list * glossary * slides * help * sellassie.info * popup * classes.vtheatre.net * map * youtube.com/group/sellassie * ethioblog *

anatoly2.0 : Anatoly XXI * Webman's * Anatoly ALL * film * theatre * feeds * links * anatoly.ru * bloglines * myLibrary diigo it