Martial law does not have a good reputation. William Blackstone set the tone of modern attitudes in the 18th century. Martial law is ‘built upon no settled principles ... entirely arbitrary in its decisions ... no law, but something indulged, rather than allowed as a law’ (quoted at p. 251).
Mira Siegelberg’s important monograph retrieves and explores the debates in a range of different forums on a subject of fundamental significance: how, in the author’s words, ‘the problem of statelessness informed theories of rights, sovereignty, international legal order, and cosmopolitan justice, theories developed when the conceptual and political contours of the modern interstate order were
‘We are the Moses generation.’ Dr Otis Moss, a veteran of the civil rights movement, friend of Martin Luther King and former adviser to Jimmy Carter was addressing reassuring words to the latest aspirant for the presidency, the young Barack Obama. ‘We marched, we sat in, we went to jail … We got us out of Egypt, you could say.’ But, added the Revd Moss, we could only travel so far.