The murder of Natalya Estemirova – and before her, Anna Politkovskaya – marked a devastating pattern in the slaughter of female human rights campaigners in Chechnya.
If one heartening aspect is to emerge from this tragedy, it is that for every woman killed there is another to take up her mantle and continue the fight for justice and peace.
For Tatyana Lokshina, merely observing the conflict will never be enough:
One has to see it with one’s own eyes to understand the immensity of the tragedy, the immensity of the injustice. Once I saw it with my own eyes, I felt on a human level that the only way not to feel complicit, not to be complicit, was to do something to stop them directly. [Source]
These women are simply staggering in their courage and conviction, particularly as women are increasingly becoming targets in the region.
Shortly before her death, Estemirova was endeavoring to expose the murder of eight women whose bodies were scattered across Chechnya.
Given the lawlessness that reigns in the troubled region campaigners such as Lokshina must endure the realization that each case could be their last.
To do so, and continue to do so in light of this, defies words.