Speech at the unveiling of the statue of Menelik II
November 2, 1930
Your Highnesses, Honourable Foreign Representatives, and Dignitaries:
This day of the erection of a statue to Emperor Menelik II is a great and a happy day for the entire people of Ethiopia. The life of man is full of many sacrifices. However, after life, there is nothing better one could leave behind, other than a worthy and memorable name for one’s performances, and the erection of this statue today proves that Emperor Menelik II has been blessed to get this well-deserved reward for his efforts.
Although Emperor Menelik II was Emperor of Ethiopia by virtue of his long and traditional royal lineage, all of you patriots and heroes are well aware of the fact that he was fortunate enough to have successfully pursued what Emperor Teodros and Emperor Yohannes started in the struggle for the unification of all the provinces which were divided and balkanised as a result of the Battle of Gragne during the period of his father Emperor Lebne Dengel.
In all his efforts, with the blessings of God, his success in uniting Ethiopia has made his name renowned all over the world. Besides consolidating the unity of Ethiopia, Emperor Menelik II also established friendly relations with other governments, thus providing for Ethiopia favourable international relations and assuring the orderly progress of her people.
Having been fortunate enough and blessed with a peaceful reign, farmers worked hard and businessmen did their part well and consequently attained great prosperity.
Let history tell what achievements Emperor Menelik II made for his people and his country, for it will be impossible for Us now to enumerate them all here. No matter how intelligent and brave, no one on earth can escape death and Emperor Menelik II had to pass from this world on December 13, 1913 after having worked as much as he could for the growth of Ethiopia and the progress of his people.
Although this statue can in no way stand as a symbolic example for all the achievements Emperor Menelik II made for Ethiopia, We are erecting this statue because as human beings, there is nothing more We can do.
Many are the Emperors who, in past, worked commendably for their country. However, we know of no king, thus far, who has a statue erected in his name. It was Emperor Menelik II who started and left behind for Us projects which brought Us closer to other countries and it is because of this that We take it upon Ourselves to erect statues as symbolic tokens to Emperors who left behind significant works and, to this effect, We can say that this statue stands to signify the great works of Emperor Menelik II.
Moreover, the presence of so many dignitaries and representatives of foreign governments, who are here for Our coronation and those representing governments that signed friendship treaties with Emperor Menelik II, as well as those of others, to witness the inauguration of this statue and share Our happiness, shows how great indeed he has been.
From now on, We will continue to erect statues, not only for kings, but also for all those patriots who perform or have performed great works for their country, in memory of their name and their works.