[November/December 1936]

The July/August [1936] and September/October [1936] issues of The Black Man carried criticisms "pro" and "con" about the Emperor of Abyssinia - Haile Selassie - who is now residing in exile in England.

The criticisms on the matter were really prompted for the purpose of enlightening the Negro world about the true situation of affairs and to awaken him from his usual sentimental dreams.


Some people, a limited few, not understanding the purpose, entertained narrow views as to whether the Emperor should be criticized or not, and actually suggested that he was above criticism, no doubt, because of his "divinity."  Where they got this idea from we are unable to explain, other than to charge it to real ignorance about the present state of our peculiarly civilized world.  There is one satisfaction, and that is, that The Black Man being read in all parts of the world, has succeeded in creating an enlightenment that is positively necessary if the Negro is to seriously and intelligently grapple with the problems that confront him, particularly those that are political.


No one desires to be unfair to Haile Selassie.  The only sad thing is that he has been unfair to himself, to his country and his countrymen, by acting in a manner not consistent with ordinary political intelligence necessary to our age, in understanding the machinations, cunning and vile methods and systems of Governments and peoples.

Those who pay a little attention to European and American politics, must wonder, with great astonishment, how Haile Selassie could have made such colossal blunders in ignoring the sacred trust imposed upon him, of jealously safe-guarding the interest of the country and people whom he elevated himself to rule so as to prevent them from falling into the very covetous hands and under the domination of an enemy who made no secret of his threat toward the usurpation of the people's political freedom and the conquest of the country.


If there is sympathy for Haile Selassie, it must be for his unfortunate ignorance of history which should be the guide of every modern statesman and ruler to enable him to successfully protect the national interests involved.  Any tyro who has read European history knows that the Machiavellian policy is as evident today as in the day of the originator of the policy, and politically the diplomatic word must be taken not in the literal sense but with a grain of salt.  Undertakings between Governments should be considered from the angle of diplomacy which generally hides the truth that is intended.

Haile Selassie was not able to understand the hidden methods and motives encouched in diplomatic papers and ad- vices.  The result was, as Machiavelli would suggest, his being trapped to the advantage of the astute Mussolini, whose diplomacy for the good of Italy could well be understood by the keen diplomat.

When it is understood that Haile Selassie ruled over a State with more than twelve million people and one of the richest in the world in natural resources, his best friends surely cannot compliment him for leaving that country in the hands of a foreign foe, and by the methods he adopted.


He kept his country unprepared in a modern civilization whose policy was strictly aggressive.  He resorted senti- mentally to prayer and to feasting and fasting, not consistent with the policy that secures the existence of present-day freedom for peoples whilst other nations and rulers are building up armaments of the most destructive kind as the only means of securing peace and protection.  He reclined on the peculiar policy of leaving everything to the Almighty Wisdom of the Universal Creator Who, in all history, has never yet taken political sides between two rival human political forces and powers.  For God to maintain his equilibrium, He cannot take sides in human political differences between peoples and nations, otherwise He would cease to be the God of the one, yet positively declaring Himself to be the God of the other.  So as the result shows, God had nothing to do with the campaign of Italy in Abyssinia, for on the one side we had the Pope of the Catholic Church blessing the Crusade and the other the Coptic Church fasting and praying with confidence of victory.


The Italians triumphed by the use of mustard gas. Surely God was not on the side of the Italians helping them to disload the gas of death.  The Abyssinians lost.  God could not have been on their side either.  It is logical therefore that God didn't take sides, but left the matter to be settled by the strongest human battalion.  Haile Selassie had no equipment and no food.  He never even had gas masks.  The Emperor remained in the Palace long enough to give the Italians a good foothold in Abyssinia, and then when he left the Palace it was only for seeing his poorly equipped soldiers flee before the enemy and to gain time for himself to get back to the Palace and flee the country with all he could lay his hands on, leaving the unfortunate people to the mercy of the heartless invader.

These are the facts.  Those who do not want to know them may, like the ostrich, hide their heads in the sand; but those of us who know and understand, realize that battles are not won this way.

We are sorry for the Emperor, because we realize he didn't know better.  As a fact, he didn't know what it was all about, but that it was just a matter of attacking his Divine right of being Emperor and that the consequence could well be left to God Who ordained the Divinity that made him Emperor.


Kings and Emperors do not hold their crowns today by Divine right.  They hold them by superior statesmanship, such as is being demonstrated to us by the nations of Europe and America.  When the Negroes get this kind of a sense in their heads they will be able to fight a successful war in Abyssinia and elsewhere.