UNVEILING RAS MAKONNEN MONUMENT
Convinced that records and monuments give standing evidence of a people’s long history, We feel proud to observe the precious gifts of Our forefathers in the fields of art and literature which bespeak the age and greatness of Our country for all times. It is a recognized practice to erect monuments to those who have served their country loyally and with deserved distinction.
It is only fitting that the present and future generations of Ethiopia should revere the names and scan closely the biography of Our forefathers who, through their courage, wisdom and foresight, throughout the last three millenia, devoted their lives to the greatness and advancement of Ethiopia, and to honour each one of them by erecting and preserving memorials. Monuments so erected help to recall the past, to link the present with the future generation and to encourage Our beloved people to accomplish better things with greater zeal and devotion by reminding them of the greatness of Our history.
It is for Us today a source of gratification and immense joy when We unveil in the city of Harar this statue of Our father His Highness Ras Makonnen, whose name occupies ample space in the pages of Ethiopian history as the foremost among the country's distinguished servants who, during the past century, rendered invaluable service to preserve the unity and greatness of Ethiopia, already attested by recorded achievements.
Apart from the great service he has rendered as a military leader and as an envoy of goodwill who has secured many friends for Our country, His Highness Ras Makonnen was a kind and sympathetic administrator and a great lover of truth and justice. He paid particular attention to Us from childhood so that this love of truth and justice has been instilled in Our mind, an element which has been a fountain of inspiration for Our own self-discipline and for leading Our people towards their destiny, thus permitting the memory of his priceless service to remain perpetually vivid.
His Highness Ras Makonnen, besides taking the keenest interest in Our education in Ethiopian literature and other exotic disciplines, showed signal farsightedness in the educational field and sent a number of Ethiopian youth abroad for higher education.
His Military Exploits
The patriotic services of His Highness Ras Makonnen were not restricted only to guidance and leadership; he was engaged in actual combat and had himself suffered bodily wounds on the field of battle. He left a lasting example to others both in his military exploits and in his moral leadership. We may cite in this regard a letter among many in which His Imperial Majesty Menelik II had expressed the high esteem he had for the services of His Highness Ras Makonnen. It stated: “Sincere prayers to Almighty God to bestow upon you his blessings are not only for you but for your offspring as well. We trust that Our solemn prayer would be answered.” Nor can We forget that among the many achievements of His Highness Ras Makonnen was his success in bringing about fraternal harmony between Ethiopians of both Christian and Moslem persuasions in the province of Harar.
As We express before this statue and in the presence of Our people the deep love enshrined in Our heart for Our father, who had brought Us up and educated Us, Our pleasure is further increased by being able to entrust to the present and future generations this visible and perceptible historical testimony which shall remain as a symbol of the distinguished services of Our father, who has earned the love, admiration and respect not only of the people of Harar, whom he had loved like his own children, cared for and served, but of the entire Ethiopian people who realize their indebtedness to his efforts.
We thank the Almighty for having blessed Us to be able to perform this public act in the lasting memory of His Highness Ras Makonnen. Several of Our ancestors and many others who have rendered meritorious service to their motherland are worthy of such monuments and it is Our intention to likewise honour their memory. May the Almighty God spare Us to accomplish Our desire.
Oct. 2, 1960.
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie - page 613 -
|Ras Makonnen Woldemikael and his son Lij Tafari Makonnen|