The following speech by His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I provided the inspiration for the timeless lyrics to Bob Marley's classic anthem "War":

 Were a real and effective disarmament achieved and the funds now spent in the arms race devoted to the improvement of man's state; were we to concentrate only on the peaceful use of nuclear knowledge, how vastly and in how short a time might we change the conditions of mankind. This should be our goal. In saying this we are certain that it is the prayer of humanity.

When we talk of the equality of man, we find, also, a challenge and an opportunity to bring men closer to freedom and true equality and, thus, closer to a love of peace.

The goal of the equality of man which we seek is the very antithesis of the exploitation of one people by another, of which the pages of history, in particular those written of the African and Asian continents, speak at such length.

Exploitation thus viewed has many faces. But whatever guise it assumes, this evil is to be shunned where it does not exist and crushed where it does. It is the sacred duty of this organization to ensure that the dream of equality is finally realized for all men to whom it is still denied and to guarantee that exploitation does not reappear in other forms in other places whence it has already been banished.

As a free Africa has emerged during the past decade, a fresh attack has been launched against exploitation wherever it still exists. And in that interaction so common in history, this, in turn, has stimulated and encouraged the remaining dependent peoples to renewed efforts to throw off the yoke which has oppressed them and to claim as their birthright the twin ideals of liberty and equality. This very struggle is a struggle to establish peace, and until victory is assured, that brotherhood and understanding which nourish and give life to peace can be but partial and incomplete. On the question of racial discrimination, the Addis Ababa Conference taught, to those who will learn, this further lesson; that until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned; that until there are no longer any first-class and second-class citizens of any nation; that until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all, without regard to race -- until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued but never attained. And also, that until the ignoble and unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique and in South Africa in subhuman bondage have been toppled and destroyed; until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding tolerance and good will; until all Africans stand and speak as free beings, equal in the eyes of all men as they are in Heaven -- until that day, the African continent will not know peace. We Africans will fight, if necessary, and we know that we shall win, as we are confident in the victory of good over evil.

return