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Tafari Makonnen



Behold, the lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed.

"...[o]nly in the kebra nagast, and not in the bible...the bold assertion is made...that the ark had gone from jerusalem to ethiopia."..."[h]ow could the most important biblical object in the world end up in the heart of africa...? the kebra nagast...with a great deal of weight and historical authenticity...offers a clear answer to this question...as ethiopia's claim to be the last resting place of the lost ark remains unchallenged..."..."[t]he kebra nagast's audacious claim of a massive cover-up...[and]all information about the tragic loss of the ark during solomon's reign had been suppressed,which is why no mention is made of it in the scriptures."..."a great epic...a remarkable document...erected above a solid foundation of historical truth."

Rastafari is a movement of Black people who know Africa as the birthplace of Mankind and the throne of Emperor Haile Selassie I -- a 20th Century Manifestation of God who has lighted our pathway towards righteousness, and is therefore worthy of reverence. The Rastafari movement grew out of the darkest depression that the descendants of African slaves in Jamaica have ever lived in -- the stink and crumbling shacks of zinc and cardboard that the tattered remnants of humanity built on the rotting garbage of the dreadful Dungle on Kingston's waterfront. Out of this filth and slime arose a sentiment so pure, so without anger, so full of love, the Philosophy of the Rastafari faith. It was a flower in a pigsty, watered by the nourishment of the Prophet Marcus Garvey, swayed by the wind of local political change, and cherished by the Black man's long witheld desire to hold his head upright. Freedom of Spirit, Freedom from Slavery, and Freedom of Africa, was its cry.

The worship of Emperor Haile Selassie I as the returned Messiah is held as a basic tenet of the Rastafari faith. As more information about Selassie's life become available, it shows that it is not unrealistic to perceive HIM as Christ reborn, especially because of how racially liberating is has been for Black people to focus on a Black Christ figure. When placed alongside the Prophet of Black Liberation -- Marcus Garvey -- the importance of Selassie I's life and the logic of the Children of Africa in Jamaica recognising the spiritual connections between HIM and themselves becomes clear. Even if the question of his divinity remains unverified until Kingdom come, it must be acknowledged that by his inspiration and in his name, Black brothers and sisters awakened and established a new and unique interest in God and Christ.

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RASTA~"Righteous Afrikans Stand Tall Alone"
THE SPIRIT OF RESISTANCE

In this beautiful play on words,joe ruglass,the poet folk-song composer,and flutist who has for years played with the mystic revelation of rastafari,begin his poem that expresses the rastafari rejection of jamaica as a homeland and their yearning for repatriation.

The rastafari ever since the movement?s rise in the early 1930?s have held to the belief that they and all africans in the diaspora are but exiles in ?babylon,? destined to be delivered out of captivity by a return to ?zion,? that is, africa, the land of our ancestors, or ethiopia, the seat of jah, ras tafari himself, emperor haile selassie?s precoronation name. Repatriation is one of the conerstones of rastafari belief. The fact that majority of jamaicans, including most of those who migrate, reguard jamaica as their home might make the position of joe ruglass and the other tens of thousands of the rastafari seem very sectarian. The truth is, however, that the doctrine of repatriation is kindred to a lineage of ideas and forms of action four hundred years old. They arose first in response to european slavery and then, following emancipation, in response to the system of social, cultural, and economic oppression on which modern jamaica was built.

slavery and the colonial order

Our story begins with european slavery and is quite well documented for those who wish to trace it in all its details. Here the reader will find it useful to retrace its general features. Beginning in the sixteenth century and continuing through most of the nineteenth, over 10 million africans were forced across the atlantic to the americas, where they were bought by european planters and put to work as slaves on the plantations of the americas. Countless others never made it. This extraordinary tarffic in africans was to replace the diminishing numbers of enslaved native americans, a turn of history that was not lost on the africans. Initially , most of them were drawn from the kingdoms of west africa-from guinea to the so-called gold coast-but as time passed and the demand increased,the european traders began pushing further east into yorubaland and igboland,rounding the bight of benin and loading cargos as far south as angola. The slave trade had a profound impact on the social structure and economies of the kingdoms affected, not least because of the loss of many if not most of their best craftsman, in addition to the alteration in the demographic patterns at precisely the time when the rapidly expanding european population was providing the social base for economic growth. Of those who were brought, one-third reached the caribbean islands, with jamaica receiving under 700,000 under slavery, despite the fact that all but a handful of africans held the ascribed status of slaves, there emerged among them a system of stratification based on occupation. House slaves those who worked in the great houses attending to the personal needs of the planters and their families had higher status than field slaves. And among the latter, herdmen and drivers not only exercised a measure of authority and power but were allowed important concessions such as keeping several wives. In addition, occupations such as trading or being hired out were preferred because they entailed greater freedom to move about.

one of the most important social changes resulting from emancipation was the transformation of blacks from slanes to free peasants. the better to appreciate the rise of the rastafari,it is important to dwell at greater lenght on the differentiation in the fortunes of this class that began to take place immediately following emancipation.gisela eisner estimate that in jamaica in 1838 there were just over 2,000 landholdings under forty acres each, but that by 1930 there were over 180,000 under fifty. the former slaves and their direct descendants either took advantage of the crises that gripped the big landholding class throughout the nineteenth century by buying up estate lands or turned to the inner recesses and rugged terrain of the island to fashion an independent life.

no matter how industrious and socially differentiated the slaves descendants in jamaica were,very few were able to move up the ranks of the social order to the top,for color provided the principal stumbling block.

throughout the post-emancipation decades of the nineteenth century, opportunities began to open up for peasants to join the lowest ranks of the middle class,as school teachers,ministers of religion,and clerks in the civil service. at first the impetus came from the nonconformist churches.attached to every church was a school, where the brighest could be employed as teachers.many churches also established seminaries for the native clergy;some of these seminaries grew to become high schools and colleges.

LEADERS ARE PEOPLE WHO RAISE THE STANDARDS BY WHICH THEY JUDGE THEMSELVES AND BY WHICH THEY ARE WILLING TO BE JUDGED. THE GOAL CHOSEN, THE OBJECTIVE SELECTED, THE REQUIREMENTS IMPOSED,ARE NOT MAINLY FOR THEIR FOLLOWERS ALONE.THEY DEVELOP WITH CONSUMMATE ENERGY AND DEVOTION THEIR OWN SKILL AND KNOWLEDGE IN ORDER TO REACH THE STANDARDS THEY THEMSELVES HAVE SET.THIS WHOLE-HEARTED ACCEPTANCE OF THE DEMANDS IMPOSED BY EVEN HIGHER STANDARDS IS THE BASIS OF ALL HUMAN PROGRESS.A LOVE OF HIGHER QUALITY WE MUST REMEMBER,IS ESSENTIAL IN A LEADER.THE TRUE LEADER IS ONE WHO REALIZED BY FAITH THAT HE IS AN INSTRUMENT IN THE HANDS OF GOD,AND DEDICATED HIMSELF TO BE A GUIDE AND INSPIRER OF THE NOBLER SENTIMENTS AND ASPIRATIONS OF THE PEOPLE."



running away was perhaps one of the earliest and easier forms of resistance to slavery. but this action stood little chance of success unless unoccupied or untamed land could be found where slaves could establish communities and evolve their own social organization, patterns of kinship, culture, and defense. thus viable maroon communities sprang up in all the mainland territories-brazil, colombia, guyana, suriname, the united states; and in all the larger islands-cuba, hispaniola, jamaica. jamaica boasted four maroon colonies: moore town in the east, scots hall on the north, accompong in the middle, and maroon town in the west. as running away was a crime, maroons had to defend their freedom. this they were able to accomplish successfully in a protracted series of struggles described as the first maroon war.the treaty of 1739 won the maroons their freedom and security but exacted from them the obligation to return all runaway slaves and to provide military assistance when called upon, and it denied them the right to enforce capital punishment. true to the treaty, the maroons played decisive roles in the suppression of the taki and sam sharpe rebellions, not to mention in the delivery of subsequent runaways, and, following emancipation, in the suppression of the morant bay rebellion.

ethiopia, thou land of our fathers, thou land where the gods loved to be, as storm cloud at night suddenly gathers our armies come rushing to thee. we must in the fight be victorious when swords are thrust outward to gleam: for us will the vict'ry be glorious when led by the red, black, green. advance, advance to victory,let africa be free; advance to meet the foe with the might of the red, the black, the green. ethiopia, the tyrants falling, who smote thee upon thy knees, and thy children are lustily calling from over the distant seas jehovah, the great one has heard us, has noted our sighs and our tears, with his spirit of love he has stirred us to be one through the coming years. o jehovah, thou god of the ages grant unto our sons that lead the wisdom thou gave to thy sages when israel was sore in need. thy voice thro' the dim past has spoken, ethiopia shall stretch forth her hand, by thee shall all fetters be broken, and heav'n bless our dear fatherland.

DEDICATED;to the memory of the great prophet,visionary,philosopher and liberator, the rt excellent MARCUS MOSIAH GARVEY,national hero of jamaica and eminent champion of the black race,for he strove mightily that every man's dignity be recognized. "ONE GOD,ONE AIM,ONE DESTINY."

when asked what jamaica looked like,columbus is said to have crumpled a piece of paper in his hand to dramatize the fact that deep valleys and gorges,steep hills, and mountains account for over 70 percent of the land surface. on these lands today,the very worst for any sort of agriculture,lives the peasant population.the majority of the early rastafarians came from the landless and small cultivator class of peasants.
THE SOLOMONIC RESTORATION....yekuno amlak-1270-1285 theodore_2-1855-1868..menyelek_2-1889-1913............ in 1928 ras tafari was crowned negus(king)and two years later on nov 2,1930,following the death of empress zauditu,he was crowned emperor of ethiopia and took the name haile selassie_1(power of the holy trinity)and the inherited solomonic titles,"king of kings,lord of lords ,elect of god,conquering lion of the tribe of judah,"he being the 225th rebirth of solomon and direct descendant of the union of king solomon with the queen of Sheba.
haile selassie_1(last of the solomonic kings) H.I.M negusa negast,his imperial majesty haile selassie (power of the trinity)emperor of ethiopia,king of kings lord of lords,conquering lion of the tribe of judah, elect of god,light of the universe-displaying here the mystical and metaphysical"salutation of peace" or the sign of the holy trinity. The triangle pointing downwards is an esoteric symbol representing the material phase of the seal of solomon;the six-pointed star is also know as the star of david.
The most outstanding characteristic of the Dreadlock is, of course,his hair,a sacred and inalienable part of his identity.It defines his status.The longer his locks the greater his standing as a professor of the faith. He affectionately calls his hair his crown,comparing it to the real crown of his king,SELASSIE,and sometimes to the mane of the lion,a symbol of male strength.





THE WORLD MARVELLED ONCE MORE AT THE EXTRAORDINARY SKILL AND MILITARY GENIUS DISPLAYED BY THE STATE OF ISRAEL,IN RESCURING THOUSANDS OF ETHIOPIAN JEWS FROM THE FAMINE THAT WAS RAVAGING THE LAND OF THE NEGUS IN 1984. UNDER THE "LAWS OF RETURN" WHICH GIVES EVERY JEW THE RIGHT TO FULL ISRAEL CITIZENSHIP,VAST NUMBERS OF IMMIGRANTS HAVE ENTERED ISRAEL.AMONG THESE HAVE BEEN SOME 100,000 SURVIORS OF THE NAZI DEATH CAMPS."OPERATION MAGIC CARPET" BROUGHT IN THOUSANDS OF JEWS FROM YEMEN AND MOROCCO,AND SOME 120,000 MORE WERE FLOWN IN FROM IRAG IN "OPERATION EZRA AND NEHEMIAH";BUT IT WAS NOT UNTIL FEBRUARY OF 1980 THAT THE MISSION OF RESCUING THE FALASHAS WAS ENTRUSTED TO ISRAEL'S FAMED AND HIGHLY EFFICIENT INTELLIGENCE AGENCY,THE MOSSAD.IN A MAJOR SECRET OPERATION,ISRAEL AGENTS ROUNDED UP TENS OF THOUSANDS OF THESE OSTRACIED PEOPLE AND LED THEM ACROSS DESERTS AND MOUNTAINS INTO SUDAN, WHERE BORDER CAMPS WERE PREPARED TO RECEIVE THEM,AND SPECIALLY CHARTERED PLANES WOULD TAKE THEM 'ON WINGS OF EAGLES' TO ZION,TO THE PROMISED LAND,TO ISRAEL.WHO WERE THESE PEOPLE? WHAT IMPELLED THE ISRAELI AUTHORITIES TO UNDERTAKE SUCH A VAST AND COSTLY ENTERPRISE SHROUDED IN SECRECY AND HIDDEN EVEN FROM THEIR OWN POPULATION? IN MODERN ETHIOPIA LIVE A NUMBER OF PEOPLE,ESTIMATED AT SOME TWENTY-THREE THOUSAND.THEY ARE A REMARKABLE PEOPLE INDEED:BLACK-SKINNED,BUT WITH STRONG JEWISH TIES.IN ETHIOPIA THEY ARE KNOWN AS "FALASHAS" MEANING STRANGER OR OUTSIDER.FOR MANY CENTURIES THE EXISTENCE OF FALASHAS,OR "BLACK JEWS",WAS UNKNOWN TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD.ALL KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THEM HAD BEEN LOST.IT WAS ONLY IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY THAT THEY WERE REDISCOVERED BY MISSIONARIES AND ANTHROPOLOGISTS.SINCE THEN THEIR HISTORY HAS BEEN PAINSTAKINGLY RECONSTRUCTED AND THEIR RELIGION ASSIDUOUSLY STUDIED. MANY SURPRISING CONCLUSION WERE MADE,BUT BAFFLING MYSTERIES REMAIN.THE FALASHAS' RELIGIOUS TIES TO THE SERVICE OF JAHOVAH ARE OBVIOUS,AND IT APPEARS THAT THEIR RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT HAD ITS BEGINNINGS LONG AGO BECAUSE THEY KNEW NOTHING OF THE TALMUD,A BODY OF WRITINGS THAT REFLECTED RELATIVELY LATE DEVELOPMENTS OF JEWISH RELIGIOUS THOUGHTS AND PHILOSOPHY. THE FALASHAS,THE JEWS OF ETHIOPIA,CALL THEMSELVES "BETA ISRAEL"(HOUSE OF ISRAEL),AND ACCORDING TO THEIR TRADITIONS,THEY ORIGINATED FROM THE NOBLES OF JERUSALEM WHO ACCOMPANIED MENYELEK(DAVID II),(THE SON OF KING SOLOMON AND MAKEDA,QUEEN OF SHEBA)WHEN HE RETURNED TO HIS COUNTRY.ANOTHER OPINION HOLDS THAT THE FALASHAS WERE DESCENDANTS OF JEWISH SOLDIERS WHO IN ANCIENT TIMES MANNED THE SOUTH BORDER GARRISONS OF EGYPT.FINALLY,SOME BELIEVE THAT THE FALASHAS ARE MERELY A SEGMENT OF A LOCAL POPULATION WHICH AT ONE TIME IN THE PAST CONVERTED TO JUDAISM. THUS THE MYSTERY OF THEIR ORIGIN HAS NOT BEEN ENTIRELY SOLVED.ACCORDING TO SCIENTIFIC THEORIES, THEY ARE OF HAMLTLC(CUSHITE)ORIGIN AND BELONG TO THE AGAU FAMILY OF TRIBES WHICH ALREADY FORMED PART OF THE ETHIOPIAN POPULATION PRIOR TO THE SETTLEMENT OF THE SEMITIC TRIBES WHO ARRIVED FROM SOUTHERN ARABIA. ETHIOPIAN CHRONICLES SHOW THAT JUDAISM WAS WIDESPREAD BEFORE THE CONVERSION TO CHRISTIANITY OF THE AKSUM DYNASTY DURING THE FOURTH CENTURY.AFTER THIS,THOSE WHO REMAINED FAITHFUL TO JUDAISM WERE PERSCUTED AND COMPELLED TO RETREAT FROM THE COASTAL REGION INTO THE MOUNTAINS NORTH OF LAKE TANA.THEY CONCENTRATED THEMSELVES IN THIS REGION AND LIVED IN POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE UNDER THEIR OWN RULERS. THE FALASHAS PLAYED AN ACTIVE ROLE IN THE UPRISING OF THE AGAU TRIBES AGAINST THE AKSUM DYNASTY IN THE TENTH CENTURY.ACCORDING TO ETHIOPIAN TRADITION,THERE WAS A JEWISH QUEEN KNOWN AS JUDITH(OR ESTHER)WHO LED THE REBELS IN DEPOSING THE NEGUS AND VENTED THEIR ANGER AGAINST THE CHRISTIANS,THEIR CHURCHES,JEWS AND MUSLIMS WITH THE EVENTUAL DEFEAT OF THE FALASHAS BY THE NEGUS ISHAQ IN THE EARLY FIFTEENTH CENTURY.LATER,IT WAS THE NEGUS ZARA YAKOB(1434-1468)WHO GAVE HIMSELF THE TITLE OF "EXTERMINATOR OF THE JEWS", AND HIS SON BAEDA MARYAM(1468-1478)ORGANIZED A MASSACRE OF THE FALASHAS. PARADOXICALLY,ETHIOPIAN CHRONICLES PRAISE THEIR BRAVERY AND THEIR DEVOTION TO THEIR RELIGION. IN SPITE OF THE MASSIVE FALASHA LOSSES IN THESE WARS,THE STRENGTH OF THE FALASHAS WAS NOT COMPLETELY BROKEN,SO WHEN THE AGAU TRIBES AGAIN ROSE IN REBELLION DURING THE REIGN OF THE NEGUS SUSENYOS(1607-1632),THE FALASHAS,UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF THEIR KING,GIDEON,PARTICIPATION IN THE REVOLT. HOWEVER,AFTER THE NEGUS HAD SUBDUED THE OTHER REBELS,HE DIRECTED THE WHOLE OF HIS POWER AGAINST THE FALASHAS,AND HE CONQUERED THEIR FORTRESSES.MEN,WOMEN AND CHILDREN WERE KILLED. THE NEGUS THEN PROMISED THE REMAINING FALASHAS THAT THEY COULD RETURN IN PEACE TO THEIR VILLAGES IF THEY LAID DOWN THEIR ARMS.AFTER A SHORT WHILE,HOWEVER,THE NEGUS RENEGED ON HIS PROMISE,AND PRESENTED THEM WITH THE ALTERNATIVE OF CONVERSION OR DEATH. IN THE GREAT MASSACRE PERPETRATED AGAINST THOSE WHO REFUSED TO ACCEPT BAPTISM, KING GIDEON LOST HIS LIFE. THEREAFTER,MANY FALASHAS WERE SOLD AS SLAVES, AND THE DEATH PENALTY WAS DECREED AGAINST THOSE WHO CONTINUED TO OBSERVE JEWISH CUSTOMS. THESE EVENTS MARKED THE END OF FALASHAS INDEPENDENCE. EVEN THEIR LANDS WERE CONFISCATED,AND THEY WERE COMPELLED TO TILL THEM AS TENANTS. IN THE COURSE OF TIME THEY WERE PERMITTED TO RETURN TO THEIR FORMER RELIGION; AND EVEN THOUGH THERE WERE NO FURTHER WARS,FROM THEN ON SUFFERING AND DEGRADATION WERE THE LOT OF THE FALASHAS. IN SPITE OF ALL THIS,THE FALASHAS RETAINED THEIR DISTINCTIVENESS,AND CONSIDERED THEMSELVES PART OF THE JWEISH PEOPLE,BOTH IN THEIR ORIGIN AND FAITH. THEIR RELIGION IS BASED ON THE BIBLE, WHICH THEY POSSESS IN THE GEEZ LANGUAGE IN THE SAME TRANSLATION AS THAT ADOPTED BY THE ETHIOPIAN CHURCH;IT INCLUDES A NUMBER OF APOCRYPHAL BOOKS(TOBIT,JUDITH WISDOM OF SOLOMON, WISDOM OF BEN SIRA,I AND II MACCABEES, AND THE BOOK OF BARUCH). IN ADDITION TO THESE THEY CONSIDER THE BOOK OF ENOCH AND JUBILEES SACRED TEXTS. THE FALASHAS HAVE PRIEST WHO CLAIM DESCENT FROM AARON,AND IN EVERY REGION THEY INHABIT, THE PRIEST ELECT A HIGH PRIEST WHO THEN BECOMES THE SPIRITUAL LEADER OF THE COMMUNITY. THE SANCTITY OF THE SABBATH IS RIGOROUSLY OBSERVED BY FALASHAS. WORK CEASES ON FRIDAY AT MIDDAY WHEN ALL PURIFY THEMSELVES BY RITUAL IMMERSION AND THE WEARING OF THEIR SABBATH CLOTHES.THE LIGHTING OF CANDLES OR THE KINDLING OF FIRE, THE DRAWING OF WATER, GOING BEYOND THE LIMITS OF THE VILLAGE, AND SEXUAL INTERCOURSE ARE FORBIDDEN ON THE SABBATH. FROM ETHIOPIAN SOURCES IT ALSO APPEARS THAT IN ANCIENT TIMES THE FALASHAS OBSERVED THE SABBATH REST EVEN WHEN IN WAR, AND FOUGHT ONLY WHEN ATTACKED. THE FALASHAS DETERMINE THEIR FESTIVALS BY MEANS OF A CALENDAR PATTERNED AFTER THE JEWISH ONE, AND THEY CELEBRATE THE NEW MOONS AND THE JEWISH FESTIVALS AS PRESCRIBED IN THE PENTATEUCH. THEIR ADHERENCE TO THE PRACTICE OF MALE CIRCUMCISION PERFORMED ON THE EIGHTH DAY AFTER BIRTH AS IS PRESCRIBED BIBLICALLY, FURTHER CONFIRMS THEIR JEWISH RELIGIOUS ANCESTRY. THE LAWS OF RITUAL UNCLEANNESS AND PURITY RECEIVE SPECIAL ATTENTION BY THE FALASHAS. THEIR WIVES STAY IN A SPECIAL HUT ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF THE VILLAGE DURING THE DAYS OF THEIR MENSTRUATION AND THEY RETURN TO THEIR HOMES ONLY AFTER HAVING PURIFIED THEMSELVES BY IMMERSION. A SPECIAL HUT IS ALSO PREPARED FOR WOMEN IN CONFINEMENT. THE UNCLEANNESS LASTS FOR FORTY DAYS IF A MALE CHILD IS BORN, AND EIGHTY DAYS IF IT IS A FEMALE CHILD. UPON THE CONCLUSION OF HER DAYS OF UNCLEANNESS, THE WOMAN SHAVES OFF THE HAIR OF HER HEAD, IMMERSES HERSELF, AND WASHES HER CLOTHES BEFORE RETURNING TO HER HOME.THE CONFINEMENT HUT IS THEN BURNED DOWN.THE FALASHAS DO NOT EAT RAW MEAT LIKE OTHER ETHIOPIANS, AND THEY OBSERVE THE PENTATEUCHAL LAWS CONCERNING THE RITUALLY CLEAN AND UNCLEAN ANIMALS AND THE PURGING OF THE SINEW OF THE FEMORAL VEIN. FOR THIS REASON THE FALASHAS DO NOT EAT MEAT SLAUGHTERED BY CHRISTIANS. FAMILY LIFE IS USUALLY EXEMPLARY.DIVORCE IS RARE AND ONLY ADULTERY IS RECOGNIZED AS A JUSTIFICATION FOR IT. IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT THE FALASHAS ARE NOT AFFECTED BY THE VENEREAL DISEASES WHICH ARE SO WIDESPREAD IN ETHIOPIA. THE FALASHAS FIRMLY BELIEVE IN ONLY ONE GOD,THE GOD OF ISRAEL,WHO HAS CHOSEN HIS PEOPLE AND WHO WILL SEND THE MESSIAH TO REDEEM THEM AND RETURN THEM TO THE HOLY LAND. ON SEVERAL OCCASION PROPHETS AROSE AMONG THE FALASHAS WHO ANNOUNCED THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH AND CAUSED MESSIANIC MOVEMENTS TO EMERGE. DURING THE REIGN OF EMPEROR THEODORE II, IN 1862,SUCH AN EPISODE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DISASTER WHICH OVERTOOK A LARGE GROUP OF PALASHAS WHO ATTEMPTED TO REACH ISRAEL BY FOOT. MOST OF THEM DIED ON THE WAY AND THE REMAINDER RETURNED, BROKEN AND DESTITUTE. the falashas believe in the world to come and the resurrection of the dead. in their writings there are detailed descriptions of the rewards which await the righteous in the garden of eden and the chastisements and punishments which await the wicked.edward ullendorf, noted authority on the traditions and culture of the falashas, saw in their judaism a strange fusion of pagan, jewish and christian beliefs and practices. on the other hand,joseph halevy and other researchers were deeply impressed by their jewish consciousness. today most of the falashas speak amharic, which is the official language of ethiopia. their literature, however, is written entirely in geez, the classical ethiopian language which is to this day the holy language of the ethiopian church.the bible is read also in the same geez. it is a translation which was made not from the original hebrew text but from the septuagint. this is also the translation accepted by the ethiopian church, and there is no evidence as to whether the falashas ever possessed a different version which was closer to the original. the portuguese jesuits of the 17th century asserted that in their days the falashas possessed the bible in hebrew and knew a faulty hebrew. according to one tradition, the last king of the falashas(during the reign of the negus susenyos) burnt their books before his death; but another tradition, reported by filosseno luzzatto, says that the falashas hid all their hebrew books in the town of gondar so that they would not fall into the hands of their enemies. in all these tales there is difficulty in distinguishing fact from legend. the book teezaza sanbat(precepts of the sabbath) is an original falashas work, and they attribute it to aba zabra, a monk who lived in the days of the negus zara yakob(15th century). it is a collection of the laws of the sabbath(according to the book of jubilees) and of legends on the creation of man, the garden of eden, noah,abraham,moses and others. this work does not exist in a christian version, but some parts of it have been introduced, with slight changes, into a christian work entitled dersana sanbat(the sermon on the sabbath), which praises the so-called "christian sabbath", that is sunday. in addition to these works, there are also texts which have not yet been published, such as those in the faitlovitch library in tel aviv, israel, and which include such works as "the testament of isaac", "the testament of jacob", "the praises of wisdom", "the words of moses" and others. it may be assumed that there are still more unknow works in other libraries and in the hands of the falashas. it appears that all the books of the falashas were written before the loss of their independence. mention has already been made of the tradition on the origin of the falashas from the jews who accompanied menyelek, the son of king solomon and the queen of sheba, when he return from jerusalem to ethiopia. since the ethiopians themselves, especially the royal dynasty, claim the same origin, the falashas added a story: on his way menyelek crossed a river on the sabbath with the holy ark of the covenant which he had stolen from the temple in jerusalem. some of his followers crossed over with him and from that time he and his sinful companions became christians, while the other followers who observed the sabbath became the fathers of the falashas. the story contends that the holy ark was indeed deposited in aksum, within a secret cave which was subsequently sealed after an earthquake caused a landslide. it is only when a falashas approaches it that the wall is opened up and remains thus until he has prostrated himself before the holy ark. it is estimated that there are approximately some 12,000 falashas still living in the area north of lake tana and in the outskirts of the town of gondar. they are mainly engaged in agriculture, but as previously mentioned, they do not own their own land. therefore, working as lessees or tenants on the land, they must hand over the major parts of their produce to the landowners. in addition to this, the falashas(both men and women) engage in various crafts such as pottery, weaving, basketry, spinning, and work as blacksmiths and goldsmiths. ever since their modern day"discovery" by joseph halevy in 1867, the falashas have been the subject of unending fascination and study by a variety of scholars. the abundance of legends and traditions that permeate their history, has also fueled much speculation as to their true origins and ancestry.IN GENERAL,THE OUTWARD APPEARANCE OF THE FALASHA IS SIMILAR TO THAT OF THE AMHARA. AS A RESULT OF THE INTERMINGLING OF HAMITIC AND SEMITIC BLOODS,THERE ARE DIFFERENCES IN THE COLORING OF THE SKIN AND THE FACIAL FEATURES,WHICH AT TIMES TEND TOWARDS THE AGAU TYPE AND AT OTHERS TOWARDS THE SEMITIC TYPE FOUND IN ORIENTAL JEWS. HOWEVER,AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDY HAS NOT YET BEEN CARRIED OUT. THE QUESTION OF HOW JEWISH THE FALASHAS ARE, OR WHETHER THEY ARE INDEED JEWS AT ALL, IS STILL VERY MUCH A MATTER OF CONSIDERABLE DEBATE IN ISRAEL. ALTHOUGH SOME OF THE HASIDIC JEWS AND OTHER ORTHODOX GROUPS BOTH IN ISRAEL AND IN THE UNITED STATES,STILL REFUSE TO RECOGNIZE THEM AS JEWS IN ANY SENSE, THEIR DRAMATIC RESCUE IN THE SECRETIVE "OPERATION MOSES", HAS PROVIDED ADEQUATE PROOF THAT THE STATE OF ISRAEL REGARDS THEM AS JEWS. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF THEORIES CONNECTING THE FALASHAS WITH THE ISRAELITES OF OLD. SOME CLAIM THAT WHEN THE HEBREWS LEFT THE EGYPT AT THE TIME OF THE BIBLICAL EXODUS,A GROUP BROKE OFF FROM THE REST AND FOUND THEIR WAY SOUTH TO ETHIOPIA,WHERE THEY EVENTUALLY ESTABLISHED THEIR OWN KINGDOM. HOWEVER, ONE OF THE "LOST TEN TRIBES OF ISRAEL." AROUND THE YEAR 964 B.C. AFTER THE DEATH OF KING SOLOMON, A BREAKAWAY TOOK PLACE IN ISRAEL. TEN OF THE TWELVE TRIBES SECEDED AND UNDER JEROBOAM, FORMED THE NORTHERN KINGDOM. THEN, WHEN THIS NORHERN KINGDOM FELL TO THE BRUTAL ASSYRIAN ARMY SOME 200 YEARS LATER, THE MAJORITY OF THE ISRAELITES WERE FORCIBLY DEPORTED TO ASSYRIA WHERE THEY LOST THEIR SEPARATE IDENTITY AND WERE ASSIMILATED. MANY ORTHODOX JEWS BELIEVE THAT THE FALASHAS ARE THE LOST TRIBE OF DAN. HOWEVER, THIS NOTION HAS NO HISTORICAL BASIS. THE IMPORTANT QUESTION IS NOT WHERE DID THE FALASHAS COME FROM,BUT RATHER, WHERE DID THEIR JEWISH RELIGION COME FROM. REGARDLESS OF THE TRUE NATURE OF THEIR ORIGIN OR CONVERSION TO JUDAISM, THE FACT REMAINS THAT THE FALASHAS CONSTITUTE A LIVING TESTIMONY TO THE EXCITING SAGA OF THE TRANSFER OF THE ARK OF THE COVENANT FROM THE TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM TO A STILL UNKNOWN LOCATION IN ETHIOPIA. THE NUMEROUS PROPHECIES IN DANIEL,CHAPTER 8,9 AND 11 CONCERNING THE RESTORATION OF THE TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM, THE " DAILY SACRIFICE", AND THE MANY PREDICTIONS AS TO THE REDISCOVERY OF THE ARK OF GOD AND ITS RETURN TO GOD'S TEMPLE, MAKES THE EMERGENCE OF THE FALASHAS JEWS ETHIOPIA AN EVENT OF UNDENIABLE PROPHETIC IMPORTANCE. IT IS KNOW THAT PRESENT IN ISRAEL AN INTENSE TRAINING OF YOUNG LEVITE YOUTHS IN THE PRIESTLY RITUALS OF TEMPLE CEREMONIALS IS TAKING PLACE,WITH A VIEW TO AN EARLY ESTABLISHMENT OF THE BIBLICAL SYSTEM OF SACRIFICIAL WORSHIP. THE PRESENCE OF THOUSANDS OF FALASHAS IN ISRAEL, THEMSELVES THE ONLY LIVING DESCENDANTS OF THE CUSTODIANS OF GOD'S HOLY ARK OF THE COVENANT, MAY IN FACT SIGNAL THE START OF A SERIES OF PROPHETIC EVENTS CULMINATING WITH THE REBUILDING OF THE TEMPLE OF GOD IN JERUSALEM, AND THE RETURN OF THE MESSIAH AS KING. ETHIOPIA, THE BIBLICAL LAND OF THE "MEN WITH THE BURNT FACES" IS YET TO FULFILL ITS GREATEST PROPHETIC DESTINY, AND THE FALASHAS JEWS ARE AT THE CENTRE OF THESE COMING EARTH-SHAKING EVENTS.

(THE GLORY OF KINGZ)

(THE HISTORY OF THE DEPARTURE OF GOD AND HIS ARK OF THE COVENANT FROM JERUSALEM TO ETHIOPIA,AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE RELIGION OF THE HEBREWS AND THE SOLOMONIC LINE OF KINGZ IN THAT PREVIOUSLY PAGAN COUNTRY.)


The power which you possess is but one side of the coin; the other side is responsibility. There is no power or authority without responsibility, and he who accepts the one cannot escape or evade the other. Each one of you and each servant of the Ethiopian nation and people would do well to ponder these words, to take them to heart, and to guide his conduct in accordance with their teachings. This is the challenge which faces you today. Let your labours here during the comming year demonstrate your capacity to meet it. May Almighty God guide and assist you in your work." Selassie I
"The universe was created for man to live in peace, concord and happiness" Selassie I, 1947 "In order that the work of evil may not triumph again over this redeemed humanity, all peace-loving peoples must rally together for the definite re-establishment of right and peace." Selassie I, 1937 "Wars and rumours of wars are occuping the attention of governments and peoples, but the world is thirsting more than ever for peace and justice." Selassie I, 1936 "With the knowledge that unity and co-operation are in themselves strength, take advantage of the possibilities we have opened to you" Selassie I, Sept. 18, 1959
"There is no energy in the world, including the atom, that can not be controlled. However, there is no scientist on earth who could control, even for a second, the flow of time. For this reason, never idle away your time, however breifly." Selassie I "The benefits of education must be enjoyed by every Ethiopian. Health facilities must be made available to all who require them." Selassie I "Just as we have done in the past, we will make available to you, through various experts, derectives which will serve as your guide in your work." Selassie I
"No man chooses his parents. But in the last analysis, a man's ultimate worth is, in the modern world, determined by his accomplishments and his service in the cause of his nation and his counrtymen." Selassie I, Nov. 2, 1973 "Humanity by nature is gifted to think freely, but in order that this free thought should lead him to the goal of liberty and independence, his way of thinking must be shaped be the process of education." Selassie I, 1946 "Today man sees all his hopes and aspirations crumble before him. He is perplexed and knows not whither he is drifting. But he must realise that the solution of his present difficulties and guidance for his future action is the Bible. Unless he accepts with clear conscience the Bible and its great message, he cannot hope for salvation. For myself, I glory in the Bible." Selassie I


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