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Haile Selassie Quotes: Africa’s Most Influential Monarch

To some he is God incarnate, to others, he is a redeemer, and to some, he is a revolutionary freedom fighter.

His Imperial Majesty Haile Salassie I is one of the most influential figures to come out of Africa.

Ethiopia is recognized as the only African nation to never be colonized.

A man who traces his lineage to King Solomon and The Queen of Sheeba, Selassie worked for decades to modernize and uplift Ethiopia.

He stood against the tyranny of Italian occupation.

He was the last reigning monarch of the Solomonic dynasty.

Below, you will find 50 quotes from His Imperial Majesty that provide food for thought regarding forgiveness, sovereignty, spirituality, and the nature of humankind.

Halie Selassie quotes about life and freedom

1. “Sometimes things that do not appear inspired by courage demand great courage.” – Halie Selassie

2. “Rich and poor have always existed and always will. Why? Because there are those that work and those that don’t, those wish to earn their living and those that prefer to do nothing. Those that work, that want to work, are not poor.” – Halie Selassie

3. “For it is true that Our Lord the Creator sends us into the world as equals, but it is also true that when one is born one is neither rich nor poor. One is naked. It is later on that one becomes rich or poor, according to one’s drive.” – Halie Selassie

4. “Yes, We too are aware distributing alms serves no useful purpose. Because there is only one means to solve the poverty problem: work.” – Halie Selassie

5. “We have said that whoever doesn’t work because he doesn’t want to is poor. We have said wealth has to be gained through hard work. We have said those who don’t work starve.” – Halie Selassie

6. “We add that the capacity to earn depends on the individual: Each individual is responsible for his misfortunes, his fate. It is wrong to expect help to fall from above, as a gift: Wealth has to be deserved!” – Halie Selassie

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7. “Work is one of the commandments of Our Lord the Creator!” – Halie Selassie

8. “Young people will be young people. You can’t change the uncouth manners of the

young. “ – Halie Selassie

9. “There is never anything new under the sun. Examine the past: You’ll see that the

disobedience of the young has occurred all thru history. The young don’t know what they want. They can‘t know it because they lack experience, they lack wisdom.” – Halie Selassie

10. “It is for the head of the state to show the young which path to tread and to punish them when they revolt against authority. It is up to us.” – Halie Selassie

Halie Selassie quotes about human nature

11. “ But not all the young are wicked and only the most irreducible culprits must be

punished unbendingly. The others must be reduced to reason and then persuaded to serve their country.” – Halie Selassie

12. “One should examine things thoroughly. One then discovers that the death penalty is just and necessary. For disobedience, for instance. Why? Because it is in the interests of the people. We have abolished many things. We have abolished slavery, too. But not the death penalty, We can’t abolish that. It would be like renouncing punishment for those who dare to defy authority.” – Halie Selassie

13. “I was a very serious, very diligent youth. I was sometimes punished, but do you know why? Because what I was made to study did not seem enough and I wished to study further. I wanted to stay on at school after lessons were over. I were loath to amuse myself, to go riding, to play. I didn’t want to waste time on games.” – Halie Selassie

14. “: It is my opinion that the world hasn’t changed at all. I believe that such changes have modified nothing. I don’t even notice any difference between monarchies and republics: To me they appear as two substantially similar methods of governing a nation.” – Halie Selassie

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15. “Democracy, republic: What do these words signify? What have they changed in the

world? Have men become better, more loyal, kinder? Are the people happier? All goes on as before, as always. Illusions, illusions.” – Halie Selassie

16. “Besides, one should consider the interests of a nation before subverting it with words. Democracy is necessary in some cases and We believe some African peoples might adopt it. But in other cases it is harmful, a mistake.” – Halie Selassie

17. “It is necessary to proceed slowly, cautiously, to be a watchful father for one’s children. Our realities are not yours. And Our misfortunes are endless.” – Halie Selassie

18. “. Even at the hardest, most painful moments, We have never regretted or cursed our fate. Never. And why should we have?” – Halie Selassie

19. “We were born of royal blood, authority is ours by right. Since it is ours by right and

since our Lord the Creator has deemed we might serve our people as a father serves his son, being a monarch is a great joy to us. It’s what we were born for and what we have always lived for.” – Halie Selassie

Halie Selassie quotes about pain and suffering

20. “A king must never regret the use of force. Painful necessities are still necessities and a king must not stop when he is faced with them. Not even when they hurt him. We have never been afraid to be harsh: It is the king knows what’s best for the people, the people themselves don’t know it.” – Halie Selassie

21. “As regards punishment, for instance. We must apply what Our conscience dictates, nothing more. And We never suffer when We inflict punishment be- cause We believe in that punishment, We trust Our judgment completely. So it must be and so it is.” – Halie Selassie

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22. “We devote a great deal of time to prayer and attend church as often as possible: every morning when We can. We receive the sacraments every Sunday regularly. But We don’t consider Our religion alone valid and have granted Our people the freedom to observe any religion they please.” – Halie Selassie

23. “We believe in the reunification of the churches.” – Halie Selassie

24. “He [Mussolini] is dead and what purpose is served by passing judgment on the dead? Death changes everything, sweeps everything away. Even mistakes. We dislike

mentioning hatred or scorn in connection with a man who is no longer able to answer us.” – Halie Selassie

25. “History doesn’t forget but man can. He can also forgive, if he is kind-hearted. And we try to be kind. Yes, we have forgiven. But not forgotten. No, not forgotten . We remember everything, everything!” – Halie Selassie

What was your favorite Haile Selassie quote?

When addressing the topic of fear and tyranny he famously declared “The only thing to do is deal with them with courage and decision.

One must beware of uncertainty, weakness, or conflicting emotions: They lead to defeat.

We have never allowed ourselves to fall prey to them.”

A truly inspirational figure, Selassie had an integral part in inspiring people all over the world to pursue freedom for themselves.

African leaders and the African diaspora across the globe looked to Selassie for his guidance and role as a sovereign monarch.

Many of the people in countries fighting for freedom use his example to continue to push for their own emancipation.

His efforts to modernize Ethiopia and stand up against colonial influence marked a change in post colonial politics.

He fought against slavery and stood for African unity for people on the continent and across the globe.

Clifton Sankofa
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