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Crown Council Statement on Release of Prisoners

The Crown Council of Ethiopia rejoices with the Ethiopian people in the just and compassionate release and pardon of our previously imprisoned countrymen, and calls for similar compassion and release for all political prisoners.

We are both mindful and thankful for the selfless and constant efforts and sacrifice of the many whose labors have converged to produce this historic moment of national reconciliation and healing. We are also particularly thankful in this instance for the wise guidance and counsel of the Elders – a venerable, treasured and enduring institution of traditional Ethiopian society and culture.

Providence has presented the Ethiopian people with this Golden Moment for national dialogue and reconciliation. We urge that the Elders and all Ethiopians seize this opportunity to exert maximum moral influence and guidance in an intense campaign for peace, social equity and the rule of law. We dare not fail in this effort as we are admonished by the lessons of history that even as there have been many great and ancient states, inevitably they all perished when they became fond of conflict – either with others or among themselves.

His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie has taught us that while different traditions, ethnic groupings and religions in their historic forms tend to bind us to limited groups and militate against the development of a broader sense of national or global community, the rich and ancient traditions of the Ethiopian people transcend and unite all Ethiopians in an enduring bond of nation and brotherhood.

HIM also taught that forgiveness is always an intimate and profound journey of healing and discovery. And though we may know fervently with every fiber of our being that we must forgive, still the quest for peace and forgiveness is fraught with frustration and difficulty.

By the end of 1941, Ethiopia, with British help, had finally broken the last remnants of the Italian Fascists’ unjust occupation and resistance. A large number of Italian soldiers, together with their commander-in-chief, became Ethiopia’s prisoners. The Ethiopian people and HIM demonstrated transcendent magnanimity and the extraordinary principle of unconditional forgiveness through HIM’s order that absolutely no retaliation be taken against the captured Italians – and even offered sanctuary to those Italians who wished to remain as émigrés and citizens. Our Ethiopian legacy has always strived for excellence, and if HIM and the Ethiopian people could find forgiveness for the vanquished Fascists, we can surely practice maturity and forgiveness in our dealings with each other.

God Bless Ethiopia…