Thursday, July 05, 2007

HIM and I

"Click on Photo to enlarge"
More than 40 years ago, I spoke to an Emperor! Haile Salassie ("Might of the Trinity") I of Ethiopia. Our conversation consisted of (H.I.M.) “You are tall, are you a basketball player?” My answer was “No, your Majesty, I play Baseball and Football.” End of conversation; which lasted less than 20 seconds. However it is my 20 seconds claim to fame, I had a conversation with a living Emperor. How many people can say that?

His Imperial Majesty (HIM), Ras Tafari Makonnen adopted the name of Haile Salassie I when he ascended to the throne. His official title was the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Lord of Lords, King of Kings of Ethiopia and Elect of God. We (GI’s) also called HIM the “Lord of the Flies”. There were at least 20 flies per person living in Ethiopia and Eritrea in the 1960’s.

The title Ras in Amharic (like in Hebrew) can have several meanings. Prince or Duke is the most common translation. Since Tafari Makonnen was the Crown Prince of Ethiopia before his ascension to the throne I assume that the title Ras meant Prince.

Haile was a cool little guy that spoke with a British accent. We were told to not look down on the Emperor, so all that I saw was the top of his hat when he was speaking to me.

He enjoyed reviewing and inspecting the US Troops that were stationed at Kagnew Station, Asmara, Eritrea. He liked Americans, which is unusual for an African leader. He would visit Kagnew at least once a year, mainly to get his annual medical and dental check up. Later he would award himself another medal for his visit. Haile really liked medals; he would award himself with a medal any chance that he got. They looked good on his uniform. And he loved wearing his uniform.

I shouldn’t really knock Haile, he was a fairly good Emperor (as Emperor’s go), except when it came to his treatment of the Eritrean people.

And who else (besides Haile Salassie) can claim that a Religion bears his name. The Rastafarians called him Jah – the living God.

The Beach Bum

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you led some life.
Please tell us more on the emperor and your base.

I am facinated :)


Thu Jul 05, 08:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Richard Feder, Ft Lee said...

re: "And who else (besides Haile Salassie) can claim that a Religion bears his name." Well, not to put too fine a point on it, there ain't no church that is called "The Church of Haile Salassie" or anything close to it.

My ex, on the other hand, has a church named after herself: The Church of She Who Must Be Obeyed.

Fri Jul 06, 12:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

George / Les

Find below two clips showing Haile Selassie's visit to the US ( kennedy). Unbelievable pomp and ceremony and the respect shown to him.

I agree with you George he was clever and brilliant diplomat of his day with the exception of his record on Eritrea.


Fri Jul 06, 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger The Beach Bum said...

To both Les and Simom -

You can send email to me @ TheDuke at(@) I will answerer any and all questions about my time spent in the "City of Dreams".

To Mr. Richard Feder, Ft. Lee - Get on my Bag! The Rastas believe that Haile was a living God. Not like your ex who thought that she was a Goddess.

The Beach Bum

Fri Jul 06, 06:06:00 PM  
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