The Autobiography of Emperor Haile Sellassie I – Volume 2 (29)

In the Sudan We started preparing declarations which were to be air­dropped and distributed… and began mobilizing Our people. When the news of Our return began to reach Our people in the month of August, many patriots led by Major Mesfin Sileshi came with pack animals, and We went to Gedaref to meet them. The patriots were those who were working under Dejazmatch Mengesha Jembere.


This Day in History: April 26, 1967 | Vancouver Sun


Meanwhile, the Italians had begun to mobilize all their military resources in order to occupy Rosaires, where Our people were assembling. At this time, Our main duty was to admonish Our people who had lined up with the Italians. We urged them to give up fighting against their own people and their own flag and to abandon the enemy. Through writings and advice, We told them to come to Our side waving white flags and to assemble around Dejazmatch Adafrisaw, whom We had appointed to oversee this activity. We tried to explain to the Ethiopians that they would be despatched [by the Italians] to the front lines to become the first victims of the war and to suffer from the blistering heat of the desert as well as from lack of water and food and that what was in store for them was total annihilation.

At the time, Graziani, once the brutal governor of Ethiopia, was fighting in Libya against the British. The Italians spread the rumor that he would defeat the British break the blockade of Port Said and eventually rescue Ethiopia for the Italians. To counter, We explained to Our people that, if Graziani did not escape to Italy, the British would bring him to Port Said in chains.


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At the beginning of December 1939, the Italian army which was in Libya under the command of Graziani, began to be defeated by the British. Humiliated, the brutal Graziani handed over 40,000 prisoners of war to the British. Of these, 1,626 were commanding officers, including five generals. We also heard that a sixth general had been killed in action. Several airplanes and a number of weapons were destroyed. As these events unfolded, We had made everything known to Our people.

Misleading and deceiving Our people was the paramount task for the Italians. Indeed, those Ethiopians who believed that the power of the Italians was invincible for eternity fought against their country at Guba, Gallabat and Metemma, and sacrificed their lives for the enemy’s cause.


Haile Selassie Gugsa, the Traitor Who Betrayed Ethiopia By Siding With the  Italians in 1935 | The African Exponent.


On the other hand, those who came to Us were enabled to fight for their country’s freedom and their own flag They became a source of pride for their kinsmen. We regarded them as coming from damnation to righteousness. This being so, as a father who advises his children conscientiously, We continued regularly and frequently to counsel Our people in order to save them from becoming innocent victims. From the beginning of the occupation, We never had withheld Our guidance from those who were in the service of the Italians.

Our instructions were to abandon the Italians, come to Us to fight for their freedom, and to join Fit. Tafera Zelleke, Dejazmatch Mengesha Jembere, Dejazmatch Negash and Kenyazmatch Worku at Belaya.


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The following are samples from the handbills which were distributed at the time:


Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah
Haile Sellassie I
Elect of God, Emperor of Ethiopia.

My Countrymen, Ethiopians!

How long are the Italians going to deceive you? They brought you to the desert to make you suffer from the blistering heat and to be destroyed by bombs at the battlefields. I, your Emperor, have come, with the help of the British to free you from the yoke of the enemy.

Against whom did you come to fight? Is it against your country, your flag, and your mother Ethiopia? Did you not hear what your brothers, the Ethiopian patriots, did… against our enemy the Italians in Tegede, Kwara, Begemdir and other places? Turn your guns against our enemies-the Italians. I have sent on my behalf Dejazmatch Adafrisaw.

Turn against the Italians and join Dejazmatch Adafrisaw in Rosaires as soon as possible.


Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah
Haile Sellassie I
Elect of God, Emperor of Ethiopia

To the bande and my people resident in Wombera. Take heed of this! I have come at the head of the Ethiopian Army and with British troops to drive the Italians out and restore Ethiopia’s full independence.

The Italians are hopeless. The Italian army in Libya was routed in the month of December by the British. The man Graziani who once ruled Ethiopia with utter brutality, has been defeated, and turned over to the British 40,000 prisoners of war. Among these, 1,626 were officers. More than 200 artillery pieces, nearly 100 tanks, and over 900 machine guns were captured by the British. Five top generals were captured. A sixth general was killed in action and 176 airplanes were destroyed.


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Today in North Africa the Italians are fighting a losing battle defensively in harbor towns whence they might be able to escape. Do you remember the Italian propaganda which claimed that Graziani would occupy Egypt, break the blockade of Port Said, and rescue Ethiopia for the Italians? I can assure you, if Graziani is unable to escape from Libya and go to Italy, he will be captured by the British and come to Port Said in chains.

The Italians are totally desperate. The banda force left behind in Guba is on the run after being pounded by the British, who were acting in accordance with my orders. My instruction for the rest of you is this: forsake the Italians before you are betrayed by them and join Tafera Zelleke at Belaya and take up arms to fight for your freedom.


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Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah
Haile Sellassie I
Elect of God, Emperor of Ethiopia

To the loyal patriots of Gojam and to all My people who are under the jurisdiction of the Italians.

The hour of your freedom has arrived. Dejazmatch Negash and Dejazmatch Mengesha, the mighty commanders, are near you. Ask your brothers who are loyal to Us about their whereabouts and join them immediately with your weapons and munitions

Do not be frightened of the Italians. You have seen with your own eyes that they were annihilated in no time by British bombs. Leave them alone, let them receive the punishment that God has ordered to rain upon them. On your part, join the forces of Dejazmatch Mengesha and Dejazmatch Negash as quickly as you can Assemble under the umbrella of [our] victorious flag in order to be able to crush our cruel enemy.

Long live Ethiopia !


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Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah
Haile Sellassie I
Elect of God, Emperor of Ethiopia

To the soldiers in Italian employment stationed in Kwara! You are aware of Italy’s atrocities and the use of poison gas against us.

I, your Emperor, with the help of the British government, have come to set you free. Knowing this, the Italians are gathering you in concentration camps to annihilate you completely. Therefore, before you are hit by bombs, be courageous and join Us as quickly as possible. If you do so, you will not be denied Our gracious mercy.

Those of you who are present at the Kwara camp, go ahead and join Kenyazmatch Worku. He will receive you if you decide to do so. And bring Italian captives to the Sudan.

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