Haile Selassie Triumphantly returns to Addis Ababa
On this day 5th May 1941, Emperor Haile Selassie re-enters Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, exactly five years to the day of when it was occupied by Italy. Ethiopia known widely as Abyssinia was one of the first countries to be liberated during the Second World War.
Benito Mussolini had been eyeing Ethiopia (also known as Abyssinia) as an economic colony to be added to Italian Somaliland, in East Africa, since the 1920’s. Italy had an old score to settle after being one of the only countries to be defeated by an African Power during the first Italio-Ethiopian War by the then Ethiopian Emperor Menelik at Adowa on 1 March 1896. He hoped to resettle 10 million Italians in a unified East Africa.
On 4th May 1940, the Ethiopian World Federation lost one of its brightest shining stars, and founding member, Dr Malaku. E. Beyen to lobar pneumonia. His death came almost four years to the very day of the Italian entrance into Addis Ababa and one year prior to Haile Selassie’s triumphant return to the Ethiopian capital.
Of Dr Bayen Haile Selassie in his Autobiography wrote “In the month of May 1940, we heard of the death, in America, of our loyal servant Dr. Malaku Beyen. When we were told of his death, we mourned him at our residence in Bath. Dr Beyan was our palace servant whom we raised up from childhood. Realizing his diligence and farsightedness, we sent him to be educated in America in 1921, and hardworking as he was, he became a medical doctor. When the Italians invaded Ethiopia, he came to serve his country and his Emperor, and marched to Maychew with us. He had a strong desire to help wounded soldiers and we have heard about the service he rendered operating on them. Dr. Malaku Beyen came to England with us after the war. Them he proceeded to America, where he worked hard to help Ethiopia in any way possible. He did a commendable job of mobilizing and organizing African Americans in supporting Ethiopia’s cause”……………. Haile Selassie I.
Just as Dr Beyen had succeeded in sustaining interest among black Americans in the plight of Ethiopia, in effect creating a greater understanding between some of his countrymen and Afro-Americans, his life was brought to an abrupt end. With one swift stroke sudden death had not only dispossessed a young woman and her son, of a husband and father but had also as the Voice of Ethiopia eulogized, deprived Ethiopians and Afro- Americans of “one of the most useful and promising of the young leaders of the race.”
Important Dates: The Earth Day of Empress Menen, Queen of Queens
Woizero Menen was born on 3rd April 1891 (25th Megabit 1883), in the Egua village, Wollo Province. Woizero Menen was baptised Wolete Giorgis in St Delba Girogis Church. A skilful writer, Woizero Menen was known to be kind, compassionate and devoutly God fearing.
In 1902 Woizero Menen married Ras Lul Sagud and had two daughters and two sons before divorcing him. She later married Haile Selassie I in 1911. For the first time in Ethiopian history, during the Coronation of H.I.M Emperor Haile Selassie I, King of Kings on 2nd November 1930, Empress Menen was crowned Queen of Queens.
The Coronation was held at the St Giorgis Church in Addis Ababa and was witness by dignitaries from across the world.
The sacred and happy union between Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress
Menen lasted for forty seven years, during which time they had three sons and three daughters and was blessed with numerous grandchildren.
Empress Menen made a huge contribution to the development of schools and hospitals as well as the social science institutions.
The Battle of Adwa was fought on 1 March 1896 between the Ethiopian Empire and the Kingdom of Italy near the town of Adwa, Ethiopia, in Tigray. This climactic battle of the First Italo-Ethiopian War, was a decisive defeat for Italy and secured Ethiopian sovereignty. As the 20th century approached, Africa had been carved up among the European powers at the Berlin Conference of 1884–85. The two independent exceptions were the Republic of Liberia on the west coast, which had begun as a settlement of repatriated American slaves. These slaves were sent by the American Colonization Society, who believed blacks would face better chances for freedom in Africa than in the United States. The second independent nation being Ethiopia, or then still commonly known as Abyssinia. Italy was a relative latecomer to the imperialist scramble for Africa. Italy’s only possessions were African territories: Eritrea and Italian Somalia. Both were near Ethiopia on the Horn of Africa and both were impoverished. Italy sought to improve its position in Africa by conquering Ethiopia and joining it with its two territories. Read on……..
Today 28th January 2017 marks the 80th anniversary of the ‘Voice of Ethiopia’. On this day in 1937 Dr Malaku E Bayen the special emissary to America of Emperor Haile Selassie, and his African American wife Dorothy, created a newspaper called ‘Voice of Ethiopia’ to simultaneously denounce Jim Crow in America, and the fascist invasion in Ethiopia. The ‘Voice of Ethiopia’, was to become known as the official media organ of the Ethiopian World Federation Incorporated. It was pro African newspaper that urged the millions of sons and daughters of Ethiopia scattered throughout the world, to join hands with Ethiopia to save the country from the wolves of Europe. Its first anniversary was marked by a special cable via Western Union from Emperor Haile Selassie, who at that time resided in exile at Fairfield House in Bath.
The cable read ” It is with great pleasure that i have just noted that the ‘Voice of Ethiopia’ has just completed its first year of struggle for the cause of Ethiopia and i send my congratulations. I sincerely hope that it will continue to receive the support of all who love justice”. Emperor Haile Selassie.
An extract from the ‘Voice of Ethiopia’, describes the first birthday celebration. Read on…..