A grieving Frenchman wrote a devastating and touching response to the terrorists who killed his wife during Friday’s attacks in Paris, telling them they “will not have my hatred.”
Antoine Leiris, the father of a 17-month-old son, lost his wife, who was attending a concert at the Bataclan Friday when Islamic radicals stormed in and began methodically shooting everyone in the theater.
But instead of lashing out with promises of revenge and anger, Leiris denied the killers the one thing they want most from those they seek to terrorize.
Calling his wife “an exceptional being,” Leiris posted on Facebook, “I will not give you the gift of hating you.” He granted the terrorists only one “tiny victory” in that he’s devastated with grief, “but this will be a short-term grief,” he wrote.
As a newly single father, Leiris pledged to raise his son, Melvil, not to hate either.
“He’s just 17 months old; he’ll eat his snack like every day, and then we’re going to play like we do every day; and every day of his life this little boy will insult you with his happiness and freedom,” he wrote. “Because you don’t have his hatred either.”
The post has been shared over 177,000 times as of Wednesday morning. One Facebook user from a Muslim-dominated European country shared the post and commented “Got chills! I hope I never have to write something like this…”
On Friday night you stole away the life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hatred. I do not know who you are and I don’t want to know, you are dead souls.
If the God for whom you kill so blindly made us in His image, each bullet in my wife’s body would have been a wound in His heart.
We are only two, my son and I, but we are more powerful than all the world’s armies… every day of his life this little boy will insult you with his happiness and freedom.
Therefore I will not give you the gift of hating you. You have obviously sought it but responding to hatred with anger would be to give in to the same ignorance that that has made you what you are. You want me to be afraid, to cast a mistrustful eye on my fellow citizens, to sacrifice my freedom for security. Lost. Same player, same game.
I saw her this morning. Finally, after nights and days of waiting. She was just as beautiful as she was when she left on Friday evening, as beautiful as when I fell madly in love with her more than 12 years ago.
Of course I’m devastated with grief, I will give you that tiny victory, but this will be a short-term grief. I know that she will join us every day and that we will find each other again in a paradise of free souls which you will never have access to.
We are only two, my son and I, but we are more powerful than all the world’s armies. In any case, I have no more time to waste on you, I need to get back to Melvil who is waking up from his afternoon nap. He’s just 17 months old; he’ll eat his snack like every day, and then we’re going to play like we do every day; and every day of his life this little boy will insult you with his happiness and freedom. Because you don’t have his hatred either.