The atrocities for which [members of the Derg regime] are now collectively indicted can tempt the unwary into nostalgia for Haile Selassie. It is easy to forget that the emperor used to authorise public hangings, that his opponents were routinely tortured, that courtiers who fell from grace were not only jailed but frequently held in chains as well, and that concepts of justice, liberty and democracy were effectively outlawed from public debate.
[Haile Selassie] was 80 years old and a very weak man. We tried our best to save him but we could not keep him.mengistu haile mariam
[Haile Selassie] died a natural death, as far as I know. I can't deny that there were many of my men who would have been glad to kill him with their bare hands to avenge the fathers and brothers they had lost due to him. The doctor looking after him told me nothing about any deterioration in his health, so there was no way I could personally ascertain what happened.mengistu haile mariam
Everything Mengistu has done since 1977 has been to place himself in a position of uncontestable power. Neither Haile Selassie nor any of the previous emperors had this insatiable thirst for power.mengistu haile mariam
I have heard of that idea [i.e., of Haile Selassie being the reincarnation of Jesus Christ]. I also met certain Rastafarians. I told them clearly that I am a man, that I am mortal, and that I would be replaced by the oncoming generation, and that they should never make a mistake in assuming or pretending that the human being is emanated from a deity.selassie, haile i, of ethiopia
[Haile Selassie] never had the time, nor the means, to live through the age when one learns to distinguish between right and wrong. Raised among plots, intrigues and cruelty, he learned to survive through cynicism and all his life was focused on the struggle to conquer power and to hold onto it. He achieved this without any scruples, often turning to methods which would have shocked the Borgias and Machiavelli put together.selassie, haile i, of ethiopia
Haile Selassie was not an evil man, but his priorities were misplaced. He was so concerned with establishing a strong central government and modernizing the country that he failed to meet the challenge of natural disaster... It was his false pride, this lack of courage to admit mistakes, that brought about his downfall.selassie, haile i, of ethiopia
Like twentieth-century Iran, the remnant of the Persian Empire, Ethiopia under Haile Selassie attempted to preserve the absolutist state throught an accommodation with modernizing forces in his own terms without completely subduing traditionalists. This was not a strategy of Haile Selassie's own choosing. Instead, he was overtaken by events and forced to deal with contradictions that were from the very beginning too formidable to be managed in the long term.selassie, haile i, of ethiopia
Haile Selassie was not an evil man, but his priorities were misplaced. He was so concerned with establishing a strong central government and modernizing the country that he failed to meet the challenge of natural disaster... It was his false pride, this lack of courage to admit mistakes, that brought about his downfall.
Haile Selassie wanted to develop his country, but social justice was not a concept that made a great impression on him. Opinions differ over the degree to which Ethiopia's backwardness in the early 1970s was to be attributed to his policies. Unquestionably, however, the flaunting of the wealth of the aristocracy and the business class, many of them foreigners, made the poverty of the masses seem all the more terrible.
[Haile Selassie] wanted to avoid bloodshed, so he gave up power for the good of his people and without fighting.
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