We might think of war as dividing populations into those who are grievable and those who are not. An ungrievable life is one that cannot be mourned because it was never lived, that is, it has never counted as a life at all. We can see the division of the globe into grievable and ungrievable lives from the perspective of those who wage war in order to defend the lives of certain communities, and to defend them against the lives of others-even if it means taking those latter lives. After the attacks of 9/11, we encountered in the media graphic pictures of those who died, along with their names, their stories, the reactions of their families. Public grieving was dedicated to making these images iconic for the nation, which meant of course that there was considerably less public grieving for non-US nationals, and none at all for illegal workers.
(Uit: Judith Butler, Frames of War. New York: Verso, 2009, 38)