“You will not have my hatred.”
That’s the defiant message the husband of one of the Paris attacks victims is sending to ISIS.
Antoine Leiris lost his wife in the Friday violence that shook the French capital, taking the lives of at least 129 and injuring hundreds more.
He penned the poignant tribute to his wife on Monday, publishing it on his Facebook page. His status, promising to not let his 17-month-old son grow up in fear of ISIS, has been shared over 57,000 times.
‘You want me to be frightened’
“Friday night you took away the life of an exceptional human being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hatred,” Leiris wrote.
“I do not know who you are, and I do not wish to. You are dead souls. If this God for whom you kill so blindly has made us in His image, every bullet in the body of my wife will have been a wound in His heart.”
“So I will not give you the privilege of hating you. You certainly sought it, but replying to hatred with anger would be giving in to the same ignorance which made you into what you are. You want me to be frightened, that I should look into the eyes of my fellow citizens with distrust, that I sacrifice my freedom for security. You lost. I will carry on as before.
“I saw her this morning. Finally, after nights and days of waiting. She was as beautiful as when she left on Friday evening, as beautiful as when I fell madly in love with her more than 12 years ago. I am of course devastated by heartbreak, I’ll cede you that little victory, but it will be short-lived. I know that she will be with us every day and that we will meet again in a paradise of free souls to which you will never have access.”
Attack on Western freedoms
The attacks, seen as an affront not only to France but on broader Western freedoms, has sparked fears of retaliation against refugees and France’s Muslim population.
But many Parisians, like Leiris, are determined to go about their lives as normal, refusing to give in to ISIS’ goal of sowing divisions and hate in society.
Leiris closed his moving tribute to his wife promising to raise his son happy and free.
“There are only two of us, my son and I, but we are stronger than all the armies of the world. Moreover, I have no more time to grant you, I must go to Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is just 17-months-old. He will eat his snack like he does every day, then we will play like we do every day and every day of his life this little boy will affront you by being happy and free. Because you will not have his hatred either.”