|The history of Ethiopia for the past half a century has revolved materially around |
events in which Haile Selassie First has been the prime mover. In times of stress,
in times of joy, his leadership in resolving the hopes, fears and aspirations of the
Ethiopian people has been distinctive, his guidance indispensable and decisive.
His people and the world have acclaimed him a fighter not only in defence of the
integrity of Ethiopia. He has been a champion for world peace and a man whose
principles have contributed manfully to the history of his day and age. His public
utterances in this phase of the national and international drama of peace and
war speak by themselves most eloquently.
|Your Highness, Honourable Foreign Representatives, and Dignitaries:|
This day of the erection of a statue to Emperor Menelik II is a great and happy day for
the entire people of Ethiopia. The life of man is full of many sacrifices. However, after
life, there is nothing better one could leave behind, other than a worthy and
memorable name for one's performances, and the erection of this statue today proves
that Emperor Menelik II has been blessed to get this well-deserved reward for his
Although Emperor Menelik II was Emperor of Ethiopia by virtue of his long and
traditional royal lineage, all of you patriots and heroes are well aware of the fact that
he was fortunate enough to have successfully pursued what Emperor Tewodros and
Emperor Yohannes started in the struggle for the unification of all the provinces
which were divided and balkanized as a result of the Battle of Gragne during the
period of his father Emperor Lebne Dengel.
In all his efforts, with the blessing of God, his success in uniting Ethiopia has made his
name renowned all over the world. Besides consolidating the unity of Ethiopia,
Emperor Menelik II also established friendly relations with other governments, thus
providing for Ethiopia favourable international relations and assuring the orderly
progress of her people.
Having been fortunate enough and blessed with a peaceful reign, farmers worked
hard and businessmen did their part well and consequently attained great prosperity.
Let history tell what achievements Emperor Menelik II made for his people and his
country, for it will be impossible for Us now to enumerate them all here. No matter
how intelligent and brave, no one on earth can escape death and Emperor Menelik II
had to pass from this world on
December 13, 1913 after having worked as much as he could for the growth of
Ethiopia and the progress of his people.
Although this statue can in no way stand as a symbolic example for all the
achievements Emperor Menelik II made for Ethiopia, We are erecting this statue
because as human beings, there is nothing more We can do.
Many are the Emperors who, in the past, worked commendably for their country.
However, we know of no king, thus far, who has a statue erected in his name. It was
Emperor Menelik II who started and left behind for Us projects which brought Us
closer to other countries and it is because of this that We take it upon Ourselves to
erect statues as symbolic tokens to Emperors who left behind significant works and,
to this effect, We can say that this statue stands to signify the great works of Emperor
Moreover, the presence of so many dignitaries and representatives of foreign
governments, who are here for Our coronation and those representing governments
that signed friendship treaties with Emperor Menelik II, as well as those of others, to
witness the inauguration of this statue and share Our happiness, shows how great
indeed he has been.
From now on, We will continue to erect statues, not only for kings, but also for all
those patriots who perform or have performed great works for their country, in
memory of their name and their works.