Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the 1966 visit of Ethiopia’s Emperor, Haile Selassie to Jamaica. It was indeed a historical event marked with so much joy. The Rastafarians were delighted to have the Ethiopian commander and war lord in their country. In acknowledgement of this special occasion, Haile’s grandson just made a 2nd visit to the Caribbean nation.
Haile Selassie Hailey was an Ethiopian military commander. He was the 225th and last Ethiopian Emperor. Haile was born in July 23, 1892, crowned king in 1930 and died in 1975. This was a year after his depose in office by Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam. His vision was to re-brand the Ethiopian education and socio-economic system. However his administration witnessed extreme famine and unemployment.
Report stresses the unlimited joyous anxiety that awaited the Emperor’s arrival to Jamaica in the 60’s. It was a highly significant moment for Jamaicans and Ethiopians. For hours Jamaicans tirelessly and happily awaited the arrival of Haile Selassie 1 at the Palisadoes International Airport (now Norman Manley International Airport) in Kingston. In colorful flamboyance, dance and music, the Ethiopian warrior was welcomed.
The Emperor’s visit was so revered and viewed as the fulfillment to the prediction of Marcus Garvey that “the day of deliverance of the black race would dawn when a black king was crowned in Africa.” Rastafarians saw him as the messiah. They kept touching his plane, and screaming out loud, “God is here!” Haile is reported to have said
“Do not worship me, I am not God, I am only man. I worship Jesus Christ”
In a similar grandiose reception in the same airport, Haile Selassie’s grandson was welcomed in Jamaica. He is making this official visit to commemorate his father’s historical visit to the Caribbean 50 years ago. He made the 3-day state visit to Kingston with his wife Princess Saba Kebede.
“This world was not created piecemeal. Africa was born no later and no earlier than any other geographical area on this globe. Africans, no more and no less than other men, possess all human attributes, talents and deficiencies, virtues and faults.” – Haile Selassie