Haile Selassie, born Tafari Makonnen in 1892, became a religious icon and a respected figure of our history. Even as a child, his youth is full of colorful stories. Of such story is of him talking to wild animals and taming them. Even at his young age, stories of him made him quite prominent across Ethiopia, his native country. The high priests and council thought that Haile Selassie should be kept away from power, as he would be too dangerous. The most famous story may perhaps be when he told the high priest that he knew where the Arc of Covenant was hidden, and whispered a few words into the priest’s ear. After this incident, the priest was shocked and would speak of this event never again.
During his teenage years, his father’s prominent position allowed Haile Selassie to gain some power in politics. In his later years, he would gain a position as a prince, and later an emperor. According to some, he is a direct descent of King Solomon and Queen Shiva of the Bible. Whether this is true or not, Haile Selassie, or Ras Tafari (his official title), would become a great leader for his country in mayhem and peace. The most famous story of his nobility and valiance may be when the Italians were planning to invade Ethiopia during World War 2. Instead of fleeing like most would have, Selassie stayed, and even fought alongside his soldiers. Compared to Italy’s machinery and advanced technology, Ethiopia really did not stand much chance with their primitive weapons. Despite the odds, Ethiopia stood guard for more than a year, and when Italy finally invaded their capital, Selassie was forced to go in exile. During his long lasting reign, Selassie joined Ethiopia to League of Nations, and improved the living conditions of Ethiopia greatly. Many believe that under Selassie’s rule, Ethiopia was a good country to live in, unlike today’s conditions in Ethiopia.
He achieved great success as an emperor but perhaps others remember him as a religious icon of the fairly new religion, Rastafarianism. Rasta men believe that Selassie is the God incarnate and this religion is mainly seen as an Afrocentric religion, which originated in Jamaica. Rastafarians believe that Zion, or holy land, is where Selassie originated from, which is Ethiopia. Bob Marley, a famous Rastafarian, helped the development of this religion. This religion is mainly recognized with dreadlocks and regular consumption of cannabis or wisdom weed as Rastafarians call it. Because of this, the religion is sometimes looked down upon by the society. The ironic thing is that Selassie himself was not part of this religion and did not like this religion very much. Regardless, Selassie gained himself a name in the world of religions through Rastafarianism.
Selassie’s long life spanned between 1892 and 1975. His new orders improved Ethiopia greatly and he will be forever remembered as a great and fair emperor whose surreal childhood already made him prominent, and also as a religious icon, a God incarnate to many.
Haile Selassie has influenced me mainly because of his great faith and camaraderie. When the Italians were invading, he stood alongside his people and fought till the very end. His brave actions awe me, as this shows great pride and nobility. To me, and many others around the world, he is highly respected, and hopefully I can be like him, when I am in trouble and in distress. As many have said, when someone is in distress, that is when the person’s true identity and motives come out, and as the history have shown us, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, King of Kings of Ethiopia and Elect of God, demonstrated that his true motives were truly good.