Hail Ras Tafari?

Hail Ras Tafari?

The Rastafari Christian movement regard Halie Selassie, the monarch of Ethiopia from 1916-1974 as the returned Messiah, God incarnate, and the leader to bring about a golden age of eternal peace, righteousness and prosperity.  Selassie was never a Rastafarian, and remained a devout Ethiopian Orthodox Christian throughout his life.

Selassie is a defining character in Ethiopia's rich history, yet his legacy is being eroded by human rights campaigners and economists who criticise his role in Ethiopia's underdevelopment.  While he was not quite the 'Conquering Lion of Judah and King of Kings of Ethiopia and Elect of God' (His official titles within the Rastafarian faith), his address to the League of Nations following the brutal Italian invasion of 1934 conveys a beautiful message in the world of violence and hatred.

While his veneration is undoubtedly misplaced, he denied his alleged divinity in an interview with Bill McNeil in 1967:

Bill McNeil "there are millions of Christians throughout the world, your Imperial Majesty, who regard you as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.

Selassie: I have heard of that idea. I also met certain Rastafarians. I told them clearly that I am a man, that I am mortal, and that I will be replaced by the oncoming generation, and that they should never make a mistake in assuming or pretending that a human being is emanated from a deity.
He deserves more recognition for his defiance against tyranny and force in 1936, in which he stated to the Council of the League of Nations; [My] "small people of 12 million inhabitants, without arms, without resources" could never withstand an attack by a large power such as Italy, with its 42 million people and "unlimited quantities of the most death-dealing weapons", he established that all small states were threatened by the aggression, and that all small states were in effect reduced to vassal states in the absence of collective action. He admonished the League that "God and history will remember your judgment'
It is collective security: it is the very existence of the League of Nations. It is the confidence that each State is to place in international treaties… In a word, it is international morality that is at stake. Have the signatures appended to a Treaty value only in so far as the signatory Powers have a personal, direct and immediate interest involved?
This speech is especially powerful today in the wake of the failure of decisive Western action against the so-called Islamic State, which retains a stranglehold over much of the Levant.  It is not right for us to abandon millions to their fate of rape and pillage at the hands of murders, just as the League decisively failed to make a stand against Italy's crime of colonisation in 1936. 


Popular Posts