Emperor Haile Selassie was an African Leader. Selassie played a key role towards the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The African Union (AU) honoured Emperor Haile Selassie I with a commemorative statue at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
He was passionate about education and bringing racial discrimination to an end amongst other things. Emperor Haile Selassie I worked to modernize Ethiopia for several decades before famine and political opposition forced him from office in 1974. Haile was born in Ethiopia in 1892 and was crowned emperor in 1930 but exiled during World War II after leading the resistance to the Italian invasion. He was reinstated in 1941 and sought to modernize the country over the next few decades through social, economic and educational reforms. Haile Selassie I was Ethiopia’s 225th and last emperor, serving from 1930 until his overthrow by the Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1974.
Haile Selassie presided over a country and government that was an expression of his personal authority. His reforms greatly strengthened schools and the police, and he instituted a new constitution and centralized his own power. In 1936 he was forced into exile after Italy invaded Ethiopia. Haile Selassie became the face of the resistance as he went before the League of Nations in Geneva for assistance, and eventually secured the help of the British in reclaiming his country and re-instituting his powers as emperor in 1941.
Haile Selassie, again, moved to try to modernize his country. In the face of a wave of anti-colonialism sweeping across Africa, he granted a new constitution in 1955, one that outlined equal rights for his citizens under the law, but conversely did nothing to diminish Haile Selassie’s own powers. He spoke at conferences and numerous gatherings and his stances were clear on every single situation he chose to tackle. His profound quotes are still respected till date. Well, I’d show you in the next paragraph.
On Education, Haile thought it necessary to bring to our consciousness that “Education is a means of sharpening the mind of man both spiritually and intellectually. It is a two-edged sword that can be used either for the progress of mankind or for its destruction. That is why it has been our constant desire and endeavor to develop our education for the benefit of mankind”.
Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph. Racial discrimination was a menace that ticked his last nerves and he fought, not necessarily evidently, to bring it to nought. He said that until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned; that until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation; that until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; that until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; that until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained.
Yes. He said those.
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