Both Eritrea and northern Uganda have been sites of protracted civil war, mass displacement, entrenched militarism, and abject violence. These provide initial bases for comparison between two otherwise disparate ethnographic case studies. However, focusing on people's symbolic and material preoccupations with the boundary between life and death, and the political and legal potency of dead bodies, illuminates profoundly human experiences shared among Eritreans and northern Ugandans. It also highlights connections between these two African conflict zones and the global, historical, and existential conditions humanity faces today. In particular, forms of resistance and solidarity among Eritrean refugees and Acholi war survivors suggest possibilities for a persistent politics of life despite scholarly preoccupations with the biopolitical and necropolitical power of states and state-sanctioned regimes to dictate the terms of life and death.