TO AMERICAN COMMITTEE ON AFRICA
... The tide which is sweeping Africa today cannot be stayed. No power on earth is great enough to halt or to reverse the trend. Its march is as relentless and inexorable as the passage of time. ...
Today, Africans and friends of Africa everywhere are celebrating Africa Freedom Day. Observance of this Day testifies to what is undoubtedly one of the most significant phenomena of this post-war world – the liberation from the bonds which have so long fettered the millions of Africans to whom, but a short time ago, freedom and independence were but distant dreams. Within the post-war period, the number of independent African nations has more than doubled; next year, additional states will achieve their independence; and each year that follows will see ever increasing numbers of Africans enjoying these most precious of Almighty God’s gifts.
The tide which is sweeping Africa today cannot be stayed. No power on earth is great enough to halt or reverse the trend. Its march is as relentless and inexorable as the passage of time. The day is long overdue for a change of attitude on the part of those nations which have heretofore sought to hinder or impede this movement or which have been content in the past to remain passive in the face of the impassioned cries for freedom, for justice, for the right to stand with their fellowmen as equals, which have gone up from this Continent. It is time for them to enlist their sympathetic efforts on behalf of the struggle of the African peoples to gain the place in the world which is their God-given birthright. Those who hail or refuse to do so, those who lack the vision and foresight to realize that Africa is emerging into a new era, that Africans will no longer be denied the rights which are inalienably theirs, will not alter or reverse the course of history, but will only suffer the inevitable consequences of their refusal to accept reality.
What is there to be learned from the events now occurring on the African Continent? It must be recognized too, that Africa, its people, its present and its future, are of vital concern to everyone, no matter how far removed geographically. In the past, America has too often been content to remain relatively unconcerned about events in Africa, too ready to stand on the sidelines of African history as a disinterested observer. This policy will not serve today, and the attitude which the American people and Government now adopt towards Africa indicates that they too realize that a new Africa has emerged on the world scene. As a result, however, Americans have been largely uninformed about us, our peoples, our problems. Among other peoples, more and more is gradually coming to be known, but mainly, We would venture, because the peoples of Africa have forced the rest of the world to pay heed to them and to harken to the stirrings and reverberations which have resounded throughout this Continent in the last decade.
Africa and U.S.A.
The American people can make a significant contribution to guaranteeing that a deep and abiding friendship exists between Africa and the United States of America. Learn more about us; learn to understand our backgrounds, our culture and traditions, our strengths and weaknesses. Learn to appreciate our desires and hopes, our problems, our fears. If we truly know one another, a solid and firm basis will exist for the maintenance of the friendly relations between the African and the American peoples, which – We are convinced – both so ardently desire. You may be assured that there will be no failure in the warm and brotherly response from our side.
In the midst of the strife and turmoil which marks Africa today, the African peoples still extend the hand of friendship. But it is extended to those who desire the progress and the political and economic freedom of the African people, who are willing generously and without thought of selfish gain to assist us to our feet that we may stand by their side as brothers. We are convinced that there are countless millions of such to be found throughout the world. We know that those to whom We send this message, who are today assembled in New York City to join in the celebration of Africa Freedom Day, are numbered among them. To them, We send Our warmest greetings and Our prayers that the purpose which today unites them may be soon realized.
We must thank the American Committee on Africa which has made it possible for Us to send these words to you today. The cause which you espouse is a noble and just one and, with the help of Almighty God, will triumph.
Apr. 18, 1960.
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie – page 204 –
Speeches delivered by His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie Ist Emperor of Ethiopia on various occasions - page 117 -