To be fair to the Rastas, Selassie did you no favors since he didn't really put them straight when he had the chance.
Maybe it was a genius part of long term evangelization, but nevertheless, he didn't tell the adoring throngs, you are wrong, I am not God, knock it off.
Best of luck.
Gebre, might be able to give you better Selassie quotes to help you since he knows a lot about both Selassie and "Rastafarianism".
Actually, in a audio interview with CBC journalist Bill McNeil, in 1967 in Canada aboard the royal train, answering to the affirmation/question "There are millions of Christians throughout the world, Your Imperial Majesty, who regard you as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ," he said: "I have heard of that idea. I
also met certain Rastafarians
. I told them clearly
that I am a man
, that I am mortal
, and that I will be replaced by the oncoming generation
, and that they should never make a mistake in assuming or pretending that a human being is emanated from a deity.
Who were these Rastafarians? And at which moment did he say this to them? It's a mystery.
But many Rastafarians would dismiss it thinking that there is a plot behind it. Others would accept it but try to find ways of interpreting it without his supposed Divinity be denied, just for instance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCxZ5NzVcE
Also the Emperor sent Abba Mandefro (Abuna Yesehaq), who didn't think H.I.M. is Christ returned, to Jamaica to establish the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church there, which was an invitation to the Rastafarians to embrace the Orthodox Faith. Some Rastas became (members), and I'm putting (members) in parenthesis, because they got baptized and chrismated and would attend church services but didn't renounce to the idea that the Emperor is "Christ in His kingly character." Other Rastas who joined the Church renounced to it, or initially when they joined didn't believe H.I.M. is Christ in His kingly character per se, but a representative, or something else.
But it is true that H.I.M. during his visit in Jamaica in 1966 didn't take the mike and say "I'm not God" so to speak. And he gave golden medallions with the Lion of Judah engraved on it to some Rastafarian representatives who met him. See at 08:15-08:50 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rZlVkBwgpg
Also, in relation with repatriation/back to Africa, after asking how long the Rastafarian movement started in Jamaica, according to Rastafarian elder Philmore Alvaranga who was among the representatives the Emperor would have said that their work is purposeful, that they must continue in their endeavor, and then went on to say the now famous saying in Rastafari, that they must "organize and centralize."
I have turned around the Rastafarian movement for ten years, and I used to refer to myself as a Rastafarian. It's no more the case now.
I would like to re-ask the question I had asked at the beginning:
Having not expected his son to die so soon (around the age of 34-36 in a car crash) he said:
"It was Our preoccupation that Our son, Prince Makonnen, after he had reached his maturity, would have lived to dedicate his life to the service of Our people. But since God’s reasoning differs from that of man, he died prematurely."
His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I
Nov. 8, 1961
Dedication of Prince Makonnen hospital
Selected Speeches pg 546
That durable life to the service of the Ethiopian people that the Emperor wanted for his son was cut short. God's will was otherwise than his as a man, hence his son died prematurately.
If you were to contrast the words and implication of the words of the Emperor above, to the Person of Jesus Christ, What would you say to a Rasta to try to convince him that Emperor Haile Selassie I is not like Jesus Christ?
Or, asked otherwise: As far as Orthodox theology goes, Could the 'God-Man' Christ, be ignorant of the future of a relative for instance, and this relative going to marry in two weeks want him to found a family and make children and be happy in it, but the man dies in a accident two days before his marriage? Just to give an exemple. If no, give your reasons why no. And imagine you're explaining the why no to a Rasta.
I'm asking this to everyone who wants to answer. Nobody is forced to.