The XX Factor

Remembering Two Brave, Murdered Women

Although she now has been buried, I wanted to comment about the death of Chechen rights activist Natalia Estemirova. The stories of her life are singularly stunning . She investigated and spoke out about the kidnappings, torture, murders of Chechen. Inevitably, she was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered, leaving her teenage daughter an orphan.

Estimirova had worked with Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, another murder victim, shot for telling the truth about oppression and corruption in Russia. The bravery of these women is almost unfathomable. Try to imagine dedicating your life to fighting the forces of evil, the people who use torture and murder as the most efficient political tools, and who also take pure pleasure in these acts. Estemirova and Politkovskaya lived with the knowledge that any too-close footfall, any unexplained creaking on the stairs, could be their final moment. Yet they never flagged.

A few months ago a sham of a trial ended with an acquittal of Politkovskaya’s supposed murderers-of course the people at the top who ordered the killing remain free. It surely won’t be any different in Estemirova’s case. Evil can be a very successful political and business model.

Photograph of a Brussels rally in memory of murdered human rights activist Natalia Estemirov by Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images.