68 Proverbs

Hailie Selassie I

Hailie Selassie I

(Last of the Solomonic Kings)

H.I.M. Negus Negast, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I (Power of

the Holy Trinity) Emperor of Ethiopia, King of Kings, Lord of Lords,

Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God, Light of the Universe

displaying here the mystical and metaphysical "Salutation of Peace" or the

Sign of the Holy Trinity. The triangle pointing downwards is an estoeric symbol

representing the maternal phase of the Seal of Solomon; the six - pointed star

is also known as the Star of David.


excerpts from "Selected Speeches of H.I.M., Hailie Selassie I"

compiled and transcribed with preface by Jahni Wolde Selassie






Among the many contributions to humanity made by His Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie I, he considerately has applied an unceasing effort toward universal equality among men, and the assured sanctity of truth and justice, tirelessly devoting himself to a lifetime relationship with the innermost conscience of mankind through the power of the word Perhaps the most poignantly remembered will be those spoken in 1936 before the League of Nations at Geneva, protesting the barbarous actions of the abominable fascist Italy as being in stark violation of the proposed charter set forth in agreement by the council of fifty-two member nations who had perpetrated the embodiment of a covenant of collective security. In an impassioned and unyielding plea for justice, His Majesty, the Lion of Judah had delivered what is recalled to have been a prophetic warning of impending doom and a chastisement of the representative nations for their infirmity and failure to take a courageous stand against the enemy.

As is well known, the annals of history can testify to the accuracy by which Haile Selassie I spoke. The words came to light and the conscience of mankind from then on would be vividly reminded of the woeful price of indifference in the face of adversity, lamenting on account of the toll which fascist aggression and tyranny imposed in terms of human lives and suffering.

Another no less significant monument to human history was again to be driven right at the heart of the racial discriminatory policies under the evil apartheid system of South Africa. In an address before the United Nations general assembly in San Francisco, California in 1963, the emperor detailed the solemn prerequisites for peace and the no quarter condemnation of the philosophy of racial superiority:


"On the question of racial discrimination. the Addis Ababa conference has taught to those who will learn, this further lesson:

That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior Is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned;

that until there's no longer first class and second class citizens of any nation; that until the color of a mans skin Is of no more significance to 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 inter-national morality will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued but never attained.

And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique, and in South Africa in sub-human bondage have been toppled and destroyed:

until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self interest have been replaced by understanding, tolerance, and good-will:

until all Africans stand and speak as free beings, equal in the eyes of men as they are In the eyes of Heaven:

until that day, the African continent will not know peace. We Africans will fight if necessary, and we know we shall win as we are confident in the victory of good over evil.


These examples of the life works of His Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie 1 can therefore not oflly attest to the mere greatness of a king, or to the power of the word when delivered in faith, with courage and with just cause, but also serve to reflect within man the inextinguishable propriety that is maintained through unwavering discipline and a love for high quality.

To this purposeful end is presented sixty-eight statements of our beloved king, the emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. And thus in presenting this eclectic work as an abridged and un-official document of reference, it. is the hope of the transcriber that in adherence to the applied context of these statements, the reader may gain a deeper sense of understanding of the character and conviction of the emperor in regards to the importance placed on the spiritual, economic, and socio-political conditions facing all Ethiopians and the world abroad. Also, that in the course of this study, all who read may internalize the proverbial wisdom conveyed within the lines of these pages, and thus meditatively pursue a rightful path of behavior, considered as a necessary achievement for these difficult times.

In the eyes of the transcriber, it is not without undue pride that we may now recall and acknowledge the precious thoughts and desires of our king, as well as the Holy titles which befit his person. Traditionally speaking, His majesty is known to be the Son of David, who was the father of King Solomon and whose earthly dominion was assured through the ages by this sustained Judeo- Christian monarchy (historically the longest running on earth), and further legitimized by the legacy of ancient Ethiopian lore His Majesty is the first and only emperor in history, as the Lion of Judah to bear the title "Light of the World"; both of which are titles attributed to Jesus Christ himself and a just-due apotheosis for the KING OF KINGS..






This volume is divided into five categories;

1) Spiritual
2) Human Progress
3) Education
4) Leadership
5) The Arts







  • It is the express wish of the former publisher (as stated in the entry of the source document) as well as that of the transcriber that all portions of this work, in entirety and/or in part be reproduced and distributed in any language or form, freely and without constraint.


    "The only way to face the arduous tests posed by life is to be spiritually prepared for them."

    "Discipline of the mind is a basic ingredient of genuine morality, and therefore of spiritual strength."

    "Whenever conflict arises between material and spiritual values, the conscience plays an important role, and anyone who suffers from a guilty conscience is never free from this problem until he makes peace with his conscience."

    "Spiritual power is the eternal guide, in this life and the life after, for man ranks supreme among all creatures Led forward by spiritual power, man can reach the summit destined for him by the great Creator,"

    "Man, who is by nature selfish, must learn that only in serving others can he reach the full stature or attain the noble destinies for which God created him."

    "Knowing that material and spiritual progress are essential to man, we must ceaselessly work for the equal attainment of both. Only then shall we be able to acquire that absolute inner calm so necessary to our well being."


    Human Progress

    "Respect good, and be heirs of good work."

    "Happiness shared with many creates a source of permanent affection and understanding, but private happiness is a temporary matter."

    "Mans contributions which influence the lives and progress posterity, are the most permanent monuments that can ever be erected."

    "A country and a people that become self- sufficient by the development of agriculture can look forward with confidence toward the future.

    To preserve the heritage of ones honor and culture is praiseworthy but to exaggerate this may prove detrimental."

    The wholehearted acceptance of the demands imposed by ever-higher standards is the basis of all human progress.

    "To develop oneself, one has to develop ones own initiative and perseverance--- one has to strive in order to grow."

    "Wise men have always known the deep and pervading truth, that it is better to give than to receive. For even as it conflicts with selfish and ambitious desires, it moderates and controls them. Giving always demands sacrifice. To overcome the temptation of mere daily comfort and to press resolutely and patiently forward on the scheduled way are true tests of the high degree of determination that should bind you together."

    "Laziness is the sole breeder of sin, poverty, and discontent"

    "The very diversity of the worlds peoples today constitutes one of mankind's great resources; the different philosophies with which nations approach their problems lead inevitably to a vast array of methods and techniques. These variations are necessary, for each people must find solutions which are responsive to its particular needs... each nation will inevitably pursue that course which appears best suited to its own unique characteristics, but no nation can pursue its course in isolation, and no nation can develop and prosper with its back turned to the rest of the world in terms of trade, techniques, resources and ideas. Each of us depends on the other, can learn from the other, and in pursuing it's own destiny will go further and succeed more quickly with others, Indeed, the free exchange of support and ideas is an essential condition to world understanding and equally to world progress."

    "It is both the responsibility of the governor as well as elders to create harmony among the people in initiating them to discuss their common problems and work toward the betterment of their standard of living."

    "No greater victory can be won by the nations of today than the conquest of the apocalyptic enemies that still ride mankind-- poverty, disease, and ignorance."

    "Independence means more than the granting of national flags and anthems, and without real and effective freedom in economic and political spheres. Liberty becomes a mere catch-phrase devoid of content."

    "It is only natural for a man to strive for a better life, to wish to educate his children while he himself was uneducated, to desire to shelter and clothe them, while he himself was naked and scourged by the elements, to strive to spare them from the cruel diseases by which he himself was ravaged. But when these ends are realized at the expense of others at the cost of their degradation and poverty, these desires, which are not intrinsically immoral or pernicious in themselves, must be frustrated and the means by which these otherwise legitimate ends are sought to be attained must be scorned and shunned."

    "Not until the direction and determination of mans fate is firmly within his own grasp can he devote the totality of hi strength to his own good."

    "Let us vow to be strong today only that we may in our strength advance the time when it will be possible to beat our swords into plowshares and when nation will not make war upon nation Let us pledge together that this time will not be long. Let us work for trust among men, for disarmament and for peace.

    "This is the ultimatum presented to us: secure the conditions whereby men will entrust their security to a larger entity, or risk annihilation: persuade men that their salvation rests in the subordination of national and local interests to the interests of humanity, or endanger mans future. These are the objectives, yesterday unattainable, today essential, which we must labor to achieve."

    "Where are we to look for our survival, for the answers to the questions which have never before been posed? We must look, first, to the Almighty God who has raised man above the animals and endowed him with intelligence and reason. We must put our faith in him, that he will not desert us or permit us to destroy humanity which he created in his image. We must look into ourselves, into the depths of our soul We must become something we have never been, and for which our education and experience and environment have ill-prepared us. We must become bigger than we have been, more courageous, greater inspirit, larger in outlook We must become members of a new race, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations, but to our fellow men within the human community."

    "Because peace cannot reign in an atmosphere reeking with poverty and hunger, we must explore and strengthen the means of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and enlightening the illiterate,"

    If humanity is led to a better observance of covenants-- that are meant for orderly conduct of life-- and if the progress of science is applied solely for human welfare, the increase of population would have become not a burden, but a matter of gratification."

    Justice is the fundamental axiom for the survival of freedom and government."

    "Just as a farm that is not taken care of cannot be free of weeds, so also is the development of a society."

    "If the wealth of a person cannot be for the general welfare, what would he gain for himself but grudge and hatred?"

    'The fruit of ones sweat and mental labor are always rewarding, not only to oneself, but also to ones succeeding generations."

    "Develop a healthy pursuit of life and do not limit your efforts to satisfying your selfish desires."

    "Do not fall prey to idleness, for it shall be a curse to you and to succeeding generations. You must set yourselves up as examples of determination and hard work. Plan your time and use both your physical and mental powers purposefully and productively."

    'The ultimate resource of a nation is its people. Unless this resource is employed for the benefit of the nation, unless the latent good which it represents is exploited to the maximum extent for the common good, the nation will languish, poor in spirit, lacking in achievement. But no nation can make their full contribution to the life of the nation of which they owe their allegiance unless they possess and enjoy those few fundamental prerequisites indispensable to rendering their participation in the affairs of the country both possible and significant."

    "The growth of a people is complex and interrelated. Man must be educated: he cannot come to grips with or cope with or understand the modern world unless he has been taught about it. He must be assured of a minimum economic security: he cannot concern himself with matters going beyond day to day satisfaction of his physical needs unless he is fed and clothed and sheltered, nor can he acquire a sufficient degree of social consciousness to be able to subordinate his own personal interests to the good of the nation and the development of its society. Freedom, liberty, the rights of man-- these mean little to the ignorant, the ill-clothed, the badly housed."

    "Unless man becomes independent in his knowledge and capacity, what help he gets from others is little, but if he is self-dependent, he may be able to extend help to others."

    "Humanity by nature is gifted to think freely, but in order that his free thought should lead him to the goal of liberty and independence, his way of thinking must be shaped by the process of education. It is understood that the independence of the mind created individually will have as a result an independently minded nation."

    "A habit once formed becomes an incurable second nature, therefore utilize your wealth for worthwhile things and avoid employing it for harmful purposes and monetary pleasures."

    "To make our wills obedient to good influences and to avoid evil, is to show the greatest wisdom. In order to follow this aim, one must be guided by religion. Progress without religion is just like a life surrounded by unknown perils and can be compared to a body without a soul."

    "With the raising of all men to their rightful dignity and honor as individuals. they will be able to regard their fellows, of whatever nation, of whatever race, of whatever religious, linguistic or historic tradition, as equals, without jealousy, without fear, without undue pride."

    "Just as a man without means to feed his hunger and to cloth his nakedness can take no pride in his existence as a human being, so also is one who is reviled and discriminated against because of his race or religion, robbed of his self-respect and human dignity."

    "Let us take pride in the fact that as free men, we attack and abhor racial discrimination on principle, where ever it is found and in what ever guise."



    "Education and the quest for knowledge stops only at the grave."

    "From the universities must come men, ideas, knowledge, experience, and technical skills, and the deep humane understanding vital to fruitful relations among nations... from the universities, too, must come that ability which is the most valuable attribute of civilized men everywhere: the ability to transcend narrow passions and to engage in honest conversation, for civilization is by nature "the victory of persuasion over force." Unity is strength."

    "An honest and persistent quest for truth is essential to the attainment of higher learning."

    'That education which ignores mans intrinsic nature, and neglects his intellect, cannot be considered true education."

    "Education is an ongoing task. The obligation to improve oneself does not cease simply because one has a regular job."

    'The needed educated individual i~ one who uses the ideas he/she obtained from their lectures, books and discussions to the best advantage of his own country and his own people."

    "Knowledge is power. If it is not applied properly to create, let there be no doubt, it will destroy."



    "In order to lead, one must be willing to follow.

    "Leadership does not mean domination, The world is well supplied with people who wish to rule and dominate others. The true leader is of a different sort: he seeks effective activity which has a truly beneficent purpose. He inspires others to follow in his wake and holding aloft the torch of wisdom, leads the way for society to realize its genuinely great aspirations.

    "In every significant event in history, you will find a courageous and determined leader, an inspiring goal or objective, and an adversary who sought to foil their efforts."

    "The leader is marked by his individual craftsmanship, his sensibility and insight, his initiative and energy."

    "Leaders are people who raise the standards by which they judge themselves-- and by which they are willing to be judged."

    "A love of high quality, we must remember, is essential in a leader."

    "To be dependable is to be willing to accept responsibility, and to carry it out faithfully."

    "A leader will always be willing to take council from his people, but will often have to act on what his own mind tells him is right. "'This demands that the leader has trained himself out of any inordinate fear of making mistakes."

    "One mark of a great leader is that he feels sufficiently secure to devote his thought and attention to the well-being of his subordinates and the perfection of his task, rather than being constantly worried about the approval or disapproval of others."

    "He who would be a leader must pay the price in self-discipline and moral restraint. This entails the correction and improvement of personal character, the checking of passions and desires, and an exemplary control over ones bodily needs and drives."

    "To be first in status, one must be first in merit as well."

    "He who has not learned to render prompt and willing service to others will find it difficult to win and keep the goodwill and cooperation of his subordinates.

    "A leader must possess initiative, which is the creative ability to think in new ways, and to do new things. The leader has to always stay ahead. He cannot afford to set up a procedure and then fold his hands and linger lazily watching it work. lie cannot be content merely to see new trends and take advantage of them. He must keep his imagination vividly alive. so as to originate ideas and start trends."


    "A good leader is devoted to his work and will willingly forgo even the demands of sleep to see its accomplishment. This does not mean that he is impetuous. On the other hand, he maintains a balance between emotional drive and sound thinking."


    "The art of leadership consists of the ability to make people want to work for you, when they are under no obligation to do so."

    "For a good soldier, there are three fundamental principles to be observed:

    to lead a decent and self-respecting life, to work assiduously, and to be ready at all times to sacrifice themselves for their country."

    "Be proud of the uniform which you wear: do nothing that would dishonor it."

    'The true leader is one who realizes that by faith, he is an instrument in the hands of God, and dedicates himself to be a guide and inspirer of the nobler sentiments of the people. He will kindle interest, teach, aid correct and inspire. those whom he leads will cooperate with him in maintaining discipline for the good of the group. He will instruct his followers in the goals which to strive, and create in them a sense of mutual effort for attaining the goal."