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Look Back to Move Forward: It is Time for the Monarchy to Return in Ethiopia

After returning home from Washington, D.C. I have been thinking a lot about all I have experienced in the last three or so months. To be honest, I have experienced more than some people experience in a lifetime.

Ethiopia, it had been more than 45 years since I left her! I refer to Ethiopia as her, for that is what she is; a mother—strong and beautiful.  I was not disappointed; the people were as I remembered them, friendly, caring and extremely congenial. Though I believe Ethiopians are all searching for something that is not yet tangible; to belong to something greater than themselves. Though the expressions were manifested differential depending where I was in the country, I could see in every part of Ethiopia a deep yearning for stability and to regain a belongingness that was lost.

Saturday, the 2nd of March, was spent with splendid people. The victory of Adwa dinner. Again, what can I say?  Pamela and I were honored to be a part of this great moment. Most people, in America, can only read about such things, we were fortunate to experience them. It was a special time, with extraordinary people, celebrating an event that forever impacted the lives and history of Ethiopia! An Emperor and an Empress, with the foresight and wisdom to bring their people together, to initiate a plan and to soundly defeat a more modern army and retain his country’s sovereignty!

As I reflect, I think of the country under HIM Haile Selassie 1, his calm and humble manner, the respect he had from other nations, from other leaders. The way in which he maintained the unity and cooperation between the various groups. Regardless of their personal feelings toward him, they still respected and were awed by him. If he said something, it was believed and honored.

Though it doesn’t seem like it given the upheaval taking place, Ethiopia was once a nation among nations. This is Queen Elizabeth bowing the Ethiopian crown.

Which brings me to my next thoughts. Ethiopia, with the ethnic issues, and the uncertainties of the various provinces and their people, could use the talents of “a” Haile Selassie.   Someone who, having nothing to do with the day-to-day governance of the country, can transcend political issues and act as an arbitrator between the various groups/leaders to keep civil discourse in check, to be the example to emulate and provide pride to the people!   Ethiopia is unique, in that, it is the only country that I know of that can trace its history back 3000 plus years, that the royal family can trace their ancestry back that far, and, “they are of only one DNA!”

Now why do I say this? If you take Europe for example, the Kings and Queens move from county to country; there might be someone who speaks German or French on the Throne of England. This never happened in Ethiopia! Additionally, Ethiopia was sovereign thousands of years before Europe ever organized into countries, it was never colonized. Moreover, one family of Solomonic Descent has ruled, this too, should be of great pride. I have been told recently by a “Grand Officer of Ethiopia” that I as well as others are growing old.

Those of us that remember how Ethiopia was under HIM Haile Selassie I will not always be here. I must reluctantly agree; however, he is right, and before I pass to the other side, I wish to see, a descendant of the Solomonic Line once again on the Throne. The Lion of Judah should return to the Flag and Ethiopia’s superb history should be once again remembered and honored. The leadership—descendants of the past kings of the various ethnic groups—should demand this and once again support a “King of Kings”. This “King of Kings” should not rule by decree, he should seek guidance, which would be available from older leaders. This needs to occur before too many have passed over.

I have thought and re-thought about the Monarchy of Ethiopia. I concur that any future emperor/empress must come from the Solomonic Blood lines.   This is the tie to the true and special history of Ethiopia. A descendant of these lines must be identified. The individual must have the right reasons for ascension to the throne and must have the moral and physical strength to endure the return for it will not be easy! It must not be about power or nobility but about the people. There are many descendants of Ethiopia’s’ proud Solomonic Line. Just look back to Atse (Emperor) Tewodros II, who sought to reestablish a cohesive Ethiopian state and to reform its administration and church. He sought to restore Solomonic hegemony. He had the ability to unite!

Born Kassa Hailu, His Imperial Majesty Atse (Emperor) Tewodros II ended Zemene Mesafint (Age of Princes) and united Ethiopia as one nation through sheer will.

Where are his heirs?  There was Yohannes IV, again an emperor with the desire to help and unit his people.  Where are his heirs?  Then Menelik II, the one who fought colonization, his modernization of the military and supply systems resulted in the defeat of the Italian invaders. His tactics in the Battle of Adwa are still studied and honored.  Where are his heirs?

These were all exceptional, forward looking men. What about the noble women?  What about Zewditu I, the first female head of an internationally recognized state in Africa in the 19th and 20th Centuries.  She had a direct line back to Solomon. Where are her heirs? Likewise Haile Selassie I, who, even before he became emperor, began to bring Ethiopia into a more modern country, he too has heirs.  Ethiopia’s people, under the revolution/communist rule were badly treated. As were the heirs of the monarchy, tortured, imprisoned, killed—especially the family of HIM Haile Selassie I.

The trauma is too fresh, many do not wish to deal with the hardships related to accepting the crown.  The prospective heirs and their families need to come together.  The decedents of past Kings and Queens need to meet and heal, to establish an extended family that will lend moral support and guidance to a prospective Emperor. There are years of wisdom in these families; which are really, one family. Also, there needs to be accommodations and communication with the descendants of the heads of the various households of the regional kings. They too have suffered and need to be listened to and consulted in the reorganization of Ethiopia’s Monarchy.

I know there are laws, property and otherwise that would have to be changed to accommodate the heads of the various households like the descendants of the Kaffa King, Ababya Abajiffer and, also, The Afar descendants of Sultan Ali Mirah.  I believe with the return of Monarchy, with the support of the regional kings, that a large portion of the discontent and strife in Ethiopia today would subside.

Let me share some other thoughts relating to a return of the Monarchy. I believe it should be carried out in the place where it all began, Gondar and Axum.  For some reason, I feel that this area would make for a cleaner and “purer” return, more righteous, if you will. Closer to the country and to the support of the people. This is the area where it began and is away from the politics and turmoil of Addis Ababa, away from the bad things of the past 45 years.  A place with the Monarch can meet with all his/her people in a safe area.  Where they can enjoy the peace of the country side, the beauty of their surroundings and draw thoughts from the past.

Proud to be standing with Commodore Tassew Desta the last commander of Ethiopian Imperial Navy along with Mel Tewahade in Ethiopia.

This is my “personal” opinion, I have nothing personally to gain except to see a happy, secure and prosperous Ethiopia and her people. I welcome all views and discussions concerning what I have written. I know there are those, who, will say “what business is it of yours”. I can only say that I am not bound by the past, I am on the outside looking in. I can see things that others might miss or be afraid to communicate.  When I was a young man, my creator placed me in Ethiopia (Eritrea now). Even then I did not understand why, I did marry there, and my oldest Son was born there which I suppose ties me somewhat to Ethiopia.

I have followed the happenings for the last 45 years, I have never forgot!  Now as an older man who has successfully made through the scars and challenges finding my place in life, and having completed two different careers, Ethiopia has once again been placed in my path. I returned, spent 21 days there, I re-acquainted myself with the country and its people. I found it good!The return of the #Ethiopia|n Monarchy can be a force for good. I know that this transition will not be easy, but I believe the people of Ethiopia are worthy of the work and sacrifice! #RedeemEthiopia Click To Tweet

Editor’s note: there are no accidents in life. this article was meant to be published now even though it was forwarded to me a couple of weeks ago. In honor of Johnny’s amazing write up, I’m sharing this video produced by Ethiopians for Constitutional Monarchy last this morning with the readers and followers of the Ghion Journal. – Teodrose Fikremariam 

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Johnny Corbin

Johnny Corbin served as a US service in the Ethiopia from 1970- 1973. He recently returned to Ethiopia where he participated in medical and Eye mission for the provinces of Gojjam, Gondar, Tigrai, Wollo. Shewa, Sidamo and Gemu Gofa. Johnny Corbin worked at Eye examiner and determined the value of children Eye during his 21 day visit to Ethiopia.
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