21 May, 2009 – MRZine Monthly Review — Judith Butler, Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? (London: Verso, 2009).
Judith Butler’s Frames of War is a searching examination of the intellectual frameworks informing the double standards which pervade contemporary political, journalistic, and academic discourses on the violence of the so-called ‘war on terror.’
Butler assesses the ways in which a variety of methods of control — from ’embedded’ journalism to immigration rules based on highly derivative notions of identity — have served to entrench a perception of a threatening and anti-modern ‘other,’ whose torture and physical destruction is thus rationalised. Making a stand for the humanity of the victims of US aggressions, Butler devotes a fascinating chapter to a survey of the published poems of Guantanamo Bay detainees, ‘efforts to re-establish a social connection to the world, even where there is no concrete reason to think that any such connection is possible.’