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How Do We Protect Non-Combatants during War?

Kamehameha the Great, also known as Kamehameha I, was a warrior king who united the Hawaiian Islands. In the process of unifying Hawaii, he fought many battles.

He did not want those battles, however, to harm people who weren’t involved in the fighting. We would call such people non-combatants.

The Hawaiian King's law was known as the “Law of the Splintered Paddle.” It required that every man, woman and child would be able “to lie down to sleep by the roadside without fear of harm.” It is part of modern Hawaii's state constitution.

How does that 18th-century law compare with the way non-combatants are treated in today's world?

Non-combatants whose lives are damaged and whose property is destroyed, in today’s world, are often referred to as “collateral damage.” What does “collateral damage” mean to you?

How does the concept of “collateral damages” compare to the “Law of the Splintered Paddle?”

Which of the two concepts is more enlightened? Explain your answer.


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