King Haile Selassie’s wonderful address to the United Nations in 1963.

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King Haile Selassie’s wonderful address to the United Nations in 1963.

King Haile Selassie addressed the United Nations in 1963 with one of the most powerful speeches ever written.


This speech was made, by Bob Marley, into one of his best and most powerful songs.


I have selected a few extracts. But everyone should read the full speech as it reflects the highest sentiments of mankind. It is idealistic and full of optimism yet it is based on pragmatism. The fact that it is a speech from Ethiopia and not one of the world’s biggest powers gives it even more strength.,_1963


For those who oppose the UN this should be a reminder of the power of words. It is words that change worlds, not bombs.


‘The Charter of the United Nations expresses the noblest aspirations of man: abjuration of force in the settlement of disputes between states; the assurance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion; the safeguarding of international peace and security.’


‘But these, too, as were the phrases of the Covenant, are only words; their value depends wholly on our will to observe and honor them and give them content and meaning.’


‘The United Nations continues to serve as the forum where nations whose interests clash may lay their cases before world opinion. It still provides the essential escape valve without which the slow build-up of pressures would have long since resulted in catastrophic explosion. Its actions and decisions have speeded the achievement of freedom by many peoples on the continents of Africa and Asia. Its efforts have contributed to the advancement of the standard of living of peoples in all corners of the world.’


‘On the question of racial discrimination, the Addis Ababa Conference 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 are no longer first class and second class citizens of any nation;’

‘that until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than 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 international 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 subhuman bondage have been toppled and destroyed;’


until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and good-will;


‘until all Africans stand and speak as free beings, equal in the eyes of all 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 that we shall win, as we are confident in the victory of good over evil.’


‘The United Nations has done much, both directly and indirectly to speed the disappearance of discrimination and oppression from the earth. Without the opportunity to focus world opinion on Africa and Asia which this Organization provides, the goal, for many, might still lie ahead, and the struggle would have taken far longer. For this, we are truly grateful.’


‘If we are to survive, this Organization must survive. To survive, it must be strengthened. Its executive must be vested with great authority. The means for the enforcement of its decisions must be fortified, and, if they do not exist, they must be devised.’




opher goodwin Added Nov 11, 2018 - 6:32am
A great song.
Stone-Eater Added Nov 11, 2018 - 11:16am
Good one.
But....utopia. Unfortunately. Talking is one thing, doing another. It was going almost unnoticed that the new president of Ethiopia is working towards a détente with Eritrea. Good news are no news...
The Burghal Hidage Added Nov 11, 2018 - 11:22am
Off topic Opher....conducting an informal survey. Would you say I do not comment enough on the work of others?
opher goodwin Added Nov 11, 2018 - 12:15pm
Stone - I'll have to have a look at that Stone.
opher goodwin Added Nov 11, 2018 - 12:15pm
Burger - apart from your periods of absence you comment quite a bit. Why?
Stone-Eater Added Nov 11, 2018 - 12:29pm
Sehr geehrter Herr Burg-Verstecker
Bitte kommentieren Sie in nächster Zeit öfter zu Artikeln von anderen Autoren. Falls nicht, wird ein Ausschlussverfahren gegen Sie eingeleitet werden, gegen das Sie innert 30 Tagen schriftlich Beschwerde einlegen können. 
Mit freundlichen Grüssen
Ihr staatlich authorisiertes Ueberwachungskomitee e.V.
Johnny Fever Added Nov 11, 2018 - 1:38pm
Really excellent job of cutting and pasting!
John Minehan Added Nov 11, 2018 - 2:58pm
I was in Ethiopia back in 2004 to observe a peacekeeping exercise.  It is an amazing place. 
The area around Addis  likes a lot like the Rhineland.  The towns are even set up like German towns with the Farmers living in the villages and the farm land surrounding the villages.
An Ethiopian Air Force guy we were working with showed us a zoo which only kept lions and the former palace of the Lion of Judah.
Jeff Michka Added Nov 11, 2018 - 4:20pm
I'd have to look, but was this the same trip that allowed Haile Salassie I to visit Jamaica?  I've read of his visit to Jah land, and it seems Haile was a little surprised he was "god" to rastafarians, and the crowds of rastas that swarmed his plane when he landed.  Truly, Haile was the Lion of Judah.
opher goodwin Added Nov 11, 2018 - 6:25pm
Thank you Johnny!
opher goodwin Added Nov 11, 2018 - 6:26pm
That must have been quite something. It's somewhere I've never been!
Thanks for contributing.
opher goodwin Added Nov 11, 2018 - 6:28pm
Jeff - that was three years later in 66. Quite an amazing scene. Rastafarianism has some strange views.
opher goodwin Added Nov 11, 2018 - 6:28pm
Mogg - Aaah Jagger and Richards written for Marianne Faithful.
Stone-Eater Added Nov 12, 2018 - 12:55am
Take a king and make him "god" and create a new "religion". Wah Jah. Another one-way-street, although the meaning was good.
opher goodwin Added Nov 12, 2018 - 4:03am
Stone - yes all a bit nutty - like most religions - but some good music came out of it.
Jeff Michka Added Nov 12, 2018 - 10:08pm
If that was the only thing rastas did, the music would be enough.  It is Western Hemisphere revolutionary music.  Thanks for the date of Jah's visit to Jamaica, opher.  knew it was "around" then.  Perhaps a "Roots of Root music" article is in order.  Radio played an interesting role in reggae music, and more than just broadcasting it.
opher goodwin Added Nov 13, 2018 - 4:38am
Jeff - yes I find Roots Music great. Rasta was really an act of defiance as much as anything else as far as I can see. It gave a sense of identity and revolution to an oppressed people that gave them confidence and purpose. It shows in the music.
A Roots of Jamaican Music would be good indeed. I might just do one.
Yes radio in rumoured to have been responsible for the sound. They were listening to US R&B and the stations kept oscillating due to the distance. They build that oscillating beat into the music.