His suppressing of rebellions among the nobles (mekwannint), as well as what some perceived to be Ethiopia's
failure to modernize adequately, earned him criticism among some contemporaries and historians.
At the League of Nations in 1936, the Emperor's protest of the use of chemical weapons against his people foreshadowed not only the worldwide conflict that was to come, but also the advent of the technological "refinement of barbarism" that would come to mark modern warfare. Haile Selassie was a gifted speaker, and some of his speeches have been counted
among the most memorable of the twentieth century. His internationalist views led to Ethiopia's becoming a charter member of the United Nations, and his political thought and experience in promoting multilateralism and collective security have proved seminal and enduring.
"And I will gather the remnant of
my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful
and increase. "And
I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they
be lacking, saith the LORD. Behold,
the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall
execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days
Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely:" Jeremiah 23: 3-6.
Haile Selassie I was born Lij Tafari Makonnen (Ge'ez ልጅ፡ ተፈሪ፡ መኮንን;
Amharic pronunciationlij teferī mekōnnin). "Lij" translates literally to "child", and serves to indicate that a
youth is of noble blood. He would later become Ras Tafari Mekonnen; "Ras" translates literally to "head" and is the equivalent of "duke", though it is often rendered in translation as "prince".
In 1928, he was elevated to Negus, "King". Upon his ascension to Emperor in 1930, he took the name Haile Selassie,
meaning "Power of the Trinity". Haile Selassie's full title in office was "His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah,
King of Kings of Ethiopia and Elect of God" (Ge'ezግርማዊ፡ ቀዳማዊ፡ አፄ፡
ኃይለ፡ ሥላሴ፡ ሞዓ፡አንበሳ፡
ዘእምነገደ፡ ይሁዳ፡ ንጉሠ፡ ነገሥት፡
ዘኢትዮጵያ፡ ሰዩመ፡ እግዚአብሔር;
girmāwī ḳadāmāwī 'aṣē ḫāylē śillāsē,
mō'ā 'anbassā za'imnaggada yīhūda nigūsa nagast za'ītyōṗṗyā, siyūma
'igzī'a'bihēr). This title reflects Ethiopian dynastic traditions, which hold that all monarchs must
trace their lineage back to Menelik I, who in the Ethiopian tradition was the offspring of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
To Ethiopians Haile Selassie has been known by many names, including Janhoy, Talaqu Meri, and
Abba Tekel. The Rastafari employ many of these appellations, also referring to him as HIM, Jah and Jah Rastafari.
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