A Statement from the Crown Council of Ethiopia by its President, His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie
Now, as the world is falling victim to a global and indiscriminate virus and has entered into a new era of economic dislocation, the People of Ethiopia are being challenged as never before.
And yet we shall prevail.
It seems as if the Almighty, in His Infinite Wisdom, is giving one more test to the Ethiopian People, who were emerging from almost a half-century of suffering. We were given a moment to breathe, but only so that we could gain strength to face the coming period.
This is our true test. We believed we had thrown off the shackles of communism and tyranny. We believed we were set to resume the path toward true democracy. Then this new crisis beset us, and all the world.
We had been given the past two years to grasp the gift we were given: the freedom to work together as Ethiopians, as true brothers and sisters, regardless of our region, our language, or our beliefs. Yet many of us still had scores to settle after 44 years of communist “divide and rule” tyranny.
Now we need to set aside the bitterness of those years. We must set them aside. We are one great People, made up of many equal clans and tribes and regions. And we will only survive this latest plague of economic and physical hardship, and start again on the road to prosperity, if we focus on the importance of unity and discard the small things.
We know that we can and will prevail in this new crisis. We can and will conquer not only the temporary scourge of this virus, which has already taken its first Ethiopian lives in Ethiopia itself and in the Diaspora, but we will come together as never before. Those we have lost to this virus, and those we are still yet lose, are indeed martyrs who cause us to pause in humility, to cease our quarreling and come together again; in sorrow for the lost souls and lost time, but united and proud.
Their deaths — and the sacrifices of our healthcare professionals at all levels, and all those who volunteer to help those suffering because of this combined biological and economic virus — will not be in vain if we cease our bickering and rejoice in our ability to make our peoples once again greater than the sum of their parts.
We have been given a great opportunity to set aside our petty differences — indeed, we have been given a wider world view in which our differences as Ethiopians can be celebrated and respected — in order to create a new Ethiopia which shows the world our three and a half millennia of unique strengths.
The Government has wisely attempted to introduce practical measures which will limit the spread of the coronavirus, and to enable our healthcare professionals to show us their skills, valor, and commitment.
But what this period also gives us is time to reflect on the possibility that we can emerge from this period of challenge, restored as a true family of Ethiopians.
This must be a time for us to innovate a new Ethiopia. We must strive to grow our own food in abundance, and feed all Ethiopians. We must seek ways to open our internal trade so that our own food crops and manufactures can be distributed to all corners of Ethiopia. And this must include all the members of our historical family, such as Eritrea and Djibouti.
We must all take heart and joy in the songs and symbols of our neighbors. We must give thanks that no Ethiopian can be set above another. And that no other people can set themselves above Ethiopians, just as we do not wish to set ourselves over others. We must give respect to the differences of faith through which each of us in our separate ways shows service to our Creator. And it is time for us to pray together.
No land has greater opportunity than Ethiopia. No people has a history deeper and richer than Ethiopia. We have each other to share and celebrate our triumphs — and there will be triumphs to come — just as we have each other to strengthen us through our trials.
In all of this, the Crown of Ethiopia is only a symbol of your greatness, your potential, your strength, and your compassion.
It is yours.
God Bless You, and God Bless Ethiopia.