Contrary to western myth, the elevated central plateau which covers half of Ethiopia 's surface area that supports the large majority population is quite possibly the most extensive contiguous area of fertile land in the eastern side of Africa.
Obscured by the media-refracted glare of the surrounding deserts, Ethiopia feels like the archetypal forgotten land. Ethiopia confounds every expectation. You arrive expecting a vast featureless desert and instead find yourself overwhelmed by majestic landscapes and climatic abundance. You expect a land which has been ravaged to the point of ruin by years of civil war, and instead you find close to the best civil amenities in Africa and almost no obvious signs that a war ever took place. You arrive expecting to see human degradation and abject poverty, and instead find yourself immersed in a culture besotted which itself and its history, and marked by a sense of unforced pride that is positively infectious. Ethiopia is a true revelation. It is the most welcoming, enjoyable and uplifting country I have ever visited.
Philip Briggs, in Ethiopa (2006), p. xii
I, Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, am here today to claim that justice which is due to my people, and the assistance promised to it eight months ago, when fifty nations asserted that aggression had been committed in violation of international treaties. There is no precedent for a Head of State himself speaking in this assembly. But there is also no precedent for a people being victim of such injustice and being at present threatened by abandonment to its aggressor.
Take care not to spoil the goodname of Ethiopia by acts which are worthy of the enemy. We shall see that our enemies are disarmed and sent out the same way they came. As Saint George who killed the dragon is the Patron Saint of our army as well as of our allies, let us unite with our allies in everlasting friendship and amity in order to be able to stand against the godless and cruel dragon which has newly risen and which is oppressing mankind.
Haile Selassie, in a victory address in Addis Ababa (5 May 1941), as translated in My Life and Ethiopia's Progress, Vol. 2, (1999), p. 165
May it be taken as Divine significance, that, as We mark the passing of the Nazi Reich, in America at San Francisco, delegates from all United Nations, among whose number Ethiopia stands, are now met together for their long-planned conference to lay foundations for an international pact to banish war and to maintain World Peace. Our Churches pray for the successful triumph of this conference. Without success in this, the Victory, We celebrate today, the suffering that We have all endured will be of no avail.
Ye who listen with credulity to the whispers of fancy, and pursue with eagerness the phantoms of hope; who expect that age will perform the promises of youth, and that the deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow; attend to the history of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia.
Ethiopia has always held a special place in my own imagination and the prospect of visiting attracted me more strongly than a trip to France, England and America combined. I felt I would be visiting my own genesis, unearthing the roots of what made me an African. Meeting the emperor himself would be like shaking hands with history.
Nelson Mandela, on a 1961 conference held in Ethiopia, as quoted in Rivonia Unmasked (1965) by Strydom Lautz, p. 108; also in Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Nelson Mandela : An Ecological Study (2002), by J. C. Buthelezi, p. 172
In this country, some aristocratic families automatically categorize persons with dark skin, thick lips, and kinky hair as "Barias" [Amharic for slave]... let it be clear to everybody that I shall soon make these ignoramuses stoop and grind corn!
Mengistu Haile Mariam, as quoted in Dr. Paulos Milkia's "Mengistu Haile Mariam: The Profile of a Dictator", reprinted in the Ethiopian Review (February 1994)