Chapter

Human, All Too Human Rights: Humanitarian Ethics and the Annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah

Orna Ben-Naftali

in From Bilateralism to Community Interest

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588817
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725272 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588817.003.0028
Human, All Too Human Rights: Humanitarian Ethics and the Annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah

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Our ideas of justice, core humanitarian principles, and the foundations of human rights are not merely traceable to Biblical narratives, but also endow them with their enduring quality. Thus, it may well be worth our while to re-read and reflect on them. This chapter offers such reflection. Such thought is particularly warranted at times when the validity of basic humanitarian values is challenged. Over the past few years the notion of ‘asymmetric war’ has been advanced to suggest the anachronism of some of the most fundamental humanitarian principles. The story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, wrought by the archetypal asymmetric use of unconventional force, invites us to reconsider the merits of this suggestion. The basic principles underlying our current jus ad bellum, jus in bello, and jus post bellum regimes are foretold in this story of ‘brimstone and fire . . . out of heaven’. This fire is not a beacon to follow; it is a warning light to beware.

Keywords: asymmetric war; human rights; Sodom and Gomorrah; humanitarian values

Chapter.  7166 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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