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Oriana Fallaci

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Among today's Italians, when treading upon Haile Selassie's memory, the sense of guilt and shame is such that they react by seeing only his positive traits: the merits of his past actions. His portrayals always brim with excessive deferance, unwarranted admiration and delusion. They go on and on about his priestly composure, his regal dignity, his great intelligence and his generosity towards former adversaries. They never explain who this sovereign, who we made into a victim, really was. They never dare tell us if he was something more, or less, than a victim. For example, that he was an old man hardened in principles which were centuries out of date; that he was the absolute ruler of a nation which has never heard the words rights and democracy, which lives in a near prehistoric fashion in the suburbs, opressed by hunger, disease, ignorance and the squallor of a feudal regime which even we did not experience during the darkest years of the Medieval period.
--
On Haile Selassie, (June 1972), as quoted in Intervista con la Storia (sixth edition, 2011) p. 509

 
Oriana Fallaci

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Haile Selassie had surely made many mistakes during his very long tenure, first and foremost his being in a constant limbo between reform and conservatism, without ever having made a definitive decision. But the revolution which toppled him in the name of freedom and progress has revealed itself to be a hundred times worse than his regime; it has caused irreperable damage; has [forced Ethiopia into] a civil war which Haile Selassie had always tried to prevent; it has accelerated rather than halted the disintigration of the country... Whatever the final judgement on Haile Selassie, his image deserves respect and consideration. It's impossible not to feel a sense of great admiration and recognition towards a man who on 30 June 1936, at the Genevan tribune of the League of Nations, denounced the crimes of Fascism to the world and warned that Ethiopia would have been but the first victim of that deathly ideology. For this message, unfortunately unheeded, we are all a bit indebted.

 
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