Who counts as human? Whose lives count as lives? And, finally, What makes for a grievable life?I want to go further. I ask myself constantly not just whose lives are grievable but: who gets to grieve? Grief has two elements: someone is grieved and someone grieves. There is the object of grief and the source of it. My father is the object of my grief, he is grieved. I am the one who grieves, who gives my grief to him. So while Butler asks the very important question of whose lives are grieved, I want to ask about the grievers. Whose grief is seen as legitimate? When it comes to war and genocide, whose grief is recognized and whose is not? How is grief constructed when it's attached to different bodies?
This tumblr user makes a very important point about how bodies of color are often forced to perform their grief for cameras wielded by the Western media. Photos of grieving women in Gaza are published for the world to see but how many of us would want the worst moment of our lives to be captured without our permission? Whose grief is respected? Who gets to grieve privately and the way they want while certain people have their grief exploited?
I think we must continue to interrogate our conceptions about grief. We need to always keep in mind the political dimensions of grief, how loss is not just an isolated personal ordeal but is also an experience affected by society, systems of power, and our intersectional identities.