FREEDOM – SOMALIA AND THE CONGO
...We have already referred to the unprecedented increase in the number of African states which today enjoy their freedom. We rejoice with Our African brothers in the irresistable tide which has brought them to the shores of freedom, and We embrace them in the achievements of these days. In particular, we extend the hand of felicitation and of brotherhood to the people of Somalia whose independence We were among the first to espouse and support and who have now this most precious of gifts for themselves and their posterity. We are confident that the bonds which join the peoples of Ethiopia and Somalia will, with each passing year, grow perceptibly stronger and that any problems or difficulties which exist or which may arise between us will be approached and resolved in a spirit of mutual trust, respect and friendship.
During the last few months, the increasingly significant role being played by the African nations in man’s struggle for peace and freedom has been sharply highlighted in the Congo crisis which, unfortunately even today remains un-resolved. In the Congo, We have witnessed the disheartening spectacle of an African state, only barely emergent from colonial status, being torn asunder by interests which seek only the exploitation of the Congolese people for their own selfish ends and which threaten to transform this newly independent nation into a mere pawn in the cold war struggle. Ethiopia has supported the independence and the territorial unity of the Congo, and We have deplored those attitudes which have thus far obstructed the prompt solution of the difficulties which beset the Congo. In Our messages to the Congo leaders, We have urged that they lay aside personal differences and ambitions and that they work together for the unity and stability of the nation which they lead. If they fail to do so, the suffering of the Congolese people will be great indeed.
It has been largely due to the decisive and resolute action of the United Nations in the Congo and to the support which this Organization has received from the great majority of African states that a potentially explosive situation has thus far been contained and that the threat which the Congo crisis poses for the stability and security of the African continent has not burst beyond control. Ethiopia responded promptly to the United Nations’ call for assistance in the Congo. Four Ethiopian battalions are serving under the United Nations banner in the Congo, and Ethiopian technicians and experts are working within the administrative framework which the United Nations has created there.
To those who would in the Congo, thwart the legitimate and normal desires of the Congolese people and subvert and distort the forces at work there to their own purposes, We would say only this: Africa has struggled long and determinedly to rid itself of the yoke of oppression and exploitation. Africans now, with the end of the struggle in view, with this long-desired goal in sight, will not willingly see victory wrenched at the last moment from their grasp. Do not seek to perpetrate, in some different guise, the old forms of economic and political exploitation and oppression. If, in truth, the basic struggle in the world today is for the minds of men, then that nation or group of nations which seeks to impose its will upon any African people will most assuredly be vanquished in this struggle. Africa needs and desires and welcomes the help of others, both physical and moral, but Africa must nevertheless be left to develop herself, her people, her resources, as Africans determine. Leave to us, freely and without qualm, the choice between good and evil, between injustice and justice, between oppression and liberty. Our choice will be the right one, and History will judge us, and you, the better for it.
Nov. 10, 1960.
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie - page 208 –
A stamp printed in the Ethiopia, is dedicated to the 70th anniversary of H.I.M. Qedamawi Haile Selassie. UN soldier on a map of the Congo, circa 1962.