Haile Selassie First Library & Museum

Yesterday, August 31, 2017, a team for the construction of ቀኃሥ ቤተወመዘክር-
Haile Selassie First Library & Museum, at Ejersa Goro was formed from
three local established organizations in Harar. The representatives of
Ejersa Goro, Kombolcha and SIDE-Ethiopia (Local NGO) promised to do
their best to make the project a success story. During the meeting,
the team has announced that anybody who is interested in the cause- in
Ethiopia and abroad- is welcome to join them in working on this
historic project.

Archbishop Abuna Yared, who blessed the first year celebration at
Ejersa Goro, has volunteered to remain attached to the stakeholders
committee. Another similar volunteer is Colonial Girma Zewdie, a
former chief security of the then OAU (All Africa Union). Abdul Selma,
a PhD candidate at Tehran University has also offered to help follow
up the alternative designs.

Ato Tesfaye Mekasha, one of the Emperor’s great speechwriters who
wrote the 1963 speech to the UN, said, “ At my age I don’t wish for
much, except good health…But now I do wish to live long enough so that
I will be able to visit Haile Selassie First Library & Museum when the
project is finished.”

Jeff Abramovich, a former employee of UNESCO, in his, “Message to
Ejersa Goro,” on the occasion of the 125th birth day, wrote: “It is a
matter of time, one day the birth place of Haile Selassie will be
listed as one of the world’s heritage sites.” He added, “The original
document of Selassie’s speech, which the Amharic on left and the
French on right, at the League of Nations, in 1936,
were transferred to the UN office in 1946, at Geneva. This
document was registered in 2010 as one of UNESCO’s precious materials.”

It is appropriate and be fitting to see this historic speech as part
of in the world’s heritage list. Not only this, but the 1963’s UN
speech which turned into a runaway hit song named “WAR” by Bob Marley,
should also be included as well, because, it is an extension of the
1936 speech.

According to the speech writer, Ato Tesfaye, “The
1963 speech’s emphasized to take a lesson from the 1936 and to strive
on the survival of humanity, rather than a single nation’s or big
powers’ interests, and finally to eradicate all the causes of war from
this planet. His
Majesty’s main concern was that UN not to follow the same path as the
League of Nations had.”

Mr Abramovich’s this year message is timely and informative. However,
why did UNESCO not announce the registering of the 1936 speech in its
list when it happened, in 2010?

The speech deserves grand ceremony because it was the birth of a new
diplomatic struggle against the colonizers, a prophetic expression
that had come to pass and may probably repeat itself. On the other
hand, it illustrates the unequal relationship between the color and
the white race in large scale. The speech reflects the then and
probably today’s world we live in. It also proves the Emperor's highly
Emotional Intelligence which places him as one of the great leaders
and thinkers of the 20th century. Emotional Intelligence (EI)
or (EQ) is a new scientific term coined in 1990 for capability of
individuals to recognize and adjust their own and other people’s
emotions to achieve intended goals.

Not only the Emperor’s message but his body language also deserves
gratitude of UNESCO. When the unruly fascist group shouted and
whistled at him to embarrass and interrupt from addressing the League
of Nations, his
solemn and refined royal pause is the first and last of its kind.
Professor Nancy Jacobs, in her book, African History through Source,
stated: “He stands alone, but regal”. Mohmed Edris, a native
Senegalese, in his PhD partial requirement, wrote, “His distinguished
manner before the white men assembled at the League of Nations
demonstrated the greatest personality that the diplomatic field has
ever seen, or ever will.” An anonymous couplet encapsulated the
irreplaceable character of the Emperor.
“ ጠቅልን አየህ ብሎ ቢጠይቀኝ
ፊትም አላለፈ ከኃላም አይገኝ፡፡” Meaning:
If someone asks me, have you seen Tafari?
This is what my answer will be
No one so far has passed the look of he
Nor will it be possible in the future to see.

History recorded that the speech lasted only 28 minutes, but those 28
minutes started a chain of reaction whose effects are still felt
today. Several books and articles in different languages have been
written and continue to be written. It is a hope that UNESCO will
recognize this speech once again in grand ceremony.

Yesterday before the meeting over, the team appreciated the African
Union’s (AU) decision to erect the Emperor's statue at its
headquarter- a proposal introduced by the leader of Ghanaian
delegation- has added a special significance to the 125th birthday
celebrations to have a happy ending.

The attached suggested gate for Haile Selassie First Library & Museum
is by Mikiyas Mengestu, a young progressive architect who wants to
work as a team with other designers to create something new that will
attract millions. The remaining pictures were taken from Ejersa Goro,
Kombolcha, and Harar during the 125th birthday celebration. The photo
of the old building with the baby Tafari was his childhood residence
in Harar. This historic building was nationalized by the Derge in 1974
and used as a prison. Now the local government owns it and has rented
it to several low income people. If this continues in the present
manner it will defiantly perish in a very short time. But if it is
renovated and preserved it would remain as one of Hara’s most
important tourist attractions. In honoring the Emperor’s history in
Harar, the city will honor the best in itself.

Haile Selassie First Liberary & Museum, Mulugeta Haile, 09/01/2017

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