If we are to survive, this Organization must survive. To survive, it must be strengthened. Its executive must be vested with greater authority.
The means for the enforcement of its decisions must be fortified and, if they do not exist, they must be devised. Procedures must be established to protect the small and the weak when threatened by the strong and the mighty.
All nations which fulfil the conditions of membership must be admitted and allowed to sit in this assemblage. Equality of representation must be assured in each of its organs.
The possibilities which exist in the United Nations to provide the means whereby the hungry may be fed, the naked clothed, the ignorant instructed, must be seized on and exploited, for the flower of peace is not sustained by poverty and want. To achieve that requires courage and confidence. The courage, I believe, we possess. The confidence must be created, and to create confidence we must act courageously.
The great nations of the world would do well to remember that in the modern age even their own fates are not wholly in their hands. Peace demands the united efforts of us all. Who can foresee what spark might ignite the fuse? It is not only the small and the weak who must scrupulously observe their obligations to the United Nations and to one another.
Unless the smaller nations are accorded their proper voice in the settlement of the world’s problems, unless the equality which Africa and Asia have struggled to attain is reflected in expanded membership in the institutions which make up the United Nations, confidence will come just that much harder. Unless the rights of the least of men are assiduously protected as those of the greatest, the seeds of confidence will fall on barren soil.
The stakes are identical for every one of us: life or death. We all wish to live. We all seek a world in which men are freed of the burdens of ignorance, poverty, hunger and disease. We shall all be hardpressed to escape the deadly rain of nuclear fallout, should catastrophe overtake us.
When I spoke at Geneva in 1936 there was no precedent for a Head of State addressing the League of Nations. I am neither the first nor shall I be the last Head of State to address the United Nations, but only I have addressed both the League and this Organization in this capacity. The problems which confront us today are, equally, unprecedented. They have no counterparts on human experience. Men search the pages of history for solutions, for precedents, but there are none.
This then, is the ultimate challenge. Where are we to look for our survival, or the answers to questions which have never before been posed? We must look first to 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. And we must look into ourselves, into the depths of or souls.
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 ever been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community.
October 6, 1963
From Selected Speeches of
H.I.M Emperor Haile Selassie I
ODE TO ETHIOPIA
O Mother Race! to thee I bring
This pledge of faith unwavering,
This tribute to thy glory.
I know the pangs which thou didst feel,
When Slavery crushed thee with its heel,
With thy dear blood all gory.
Sad days were those — ah, sad indeed!
But through the land the fruitful seed
Of better times was growing.
The plant of freedom upward sprung,
And spread its leaves so fresh and young –
Its blossoms now are blowing.
On every hand in this fair land,
Proud Ethiopia’s swarthy children stand
Beside their fairer neighbor;
The forests flee before their stroke,
Their hammers ring, their forges smoke,
They stir in honest labour.
They tread the fields where honour calls;
Their voices sound through senate halls
In majesty and power.
To right they cling; the hymns they sing
Up to the skies in beauty ring,
And bolder grow each hour.
Be proud, my Race, in mind and soul;
Thy name is writ on
In characters of fire.
High ‘mid the clouds of Fame’s bright sky
Thy banner’s blazoned folds now fly,
And truth shall lift them higher.
Thou hast the right to noble pride,
Whose spotless robes were purified
By blood’s severe baptism.
Upon thy brow the cross was laid,
And labour’s painful sweat-beads made
A consecrating chrism.
No other race, or white or black,
When bound as thou went, to the rack,
So seldom stooped to grieving;
No other race, when free again,
Forgot the past and proved them men
So noble in forgiving.
Go on and up! Our souls and eyes
Shall follow thy continuous rise;
Our ears shall list thy story
From bards who from thy root shall spring,
And proudly tune their lyres to sing
Of Ethiopia’s glory.
Written by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)
Submitted by Sistren Joan Henry (Local 27)