Profile in Courage

From The Economist, courtesy of Yaacov Lazowick, this testament to the simplicity and singularity of the kind of brave life few of us will ever live: Natalia Estemirova, Chechnyan human rights defender, dead at 50.

Her story and testimony teach us that the origins and truth of the Chechnyan wars were far deeper and more complex than most distant observers could ever have understood, which is usually the case. The crimes continue while world attention returns to the stories and conflicts that can be squeezed into more convenient ideological boxes – no matter how ill-shapen the stories are thus made. The history of Chechnya is ugly and bitter. There is little reason to hope its near future will be different. A strongman, Vladimir Putin, has “rescued” a failing nation and state, Russia, by means of such wars and other crimes and corruptions. And many people will live, in fact, better lives as a consequence, ignorant of those who suffered  worse lives in making it so.

All of which makes someone like Natalia Estemirova all the more remarkable.

Hardest line to read: “All of them are now dead.”

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