A Life Worth Mourning

In Frames of War Judith Butler discusses the topic of grief and in what ways it is acceptable to express it. Some aversions to public displays of grief result from the thinking that some people are more or less deserving of it. For various reasons some lives are thought to be underserving of being mourned or not even considered to be living enough to be mourned (38). Governments have more control over this than most of the public consciously realizes by regulating the media. In censoring the Abu Ghraib the public was not fully aware of the extent or background of what their own government was doing, without all the information people were steered in the direction of thinking that the prisoners were partly at fault for what happened. The government spread the thought that since the prisoners were from a culture deemed “backwards” by Americans their tortures were warranted and therefore unworthy of grief. But how far does this go? With this method of reasoning it seems that many cultural practices could be used as evidence of being less than worthy lives. Even when people think for themselves about the innate value of a life the government still restricts how they mourn a death, because we would be acting unpatriotically. Patriotism seems to be more important than fundamental human rights. But in the end we are all human and interconnected, no matter how much we try to substantiate divisions (44).    

-Annie Grant


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