As the world recoils and recovers from the deadly attacks in Paris, as AK47-wielding suicide bomber suspects are identified, and as France continues to pound ISIS strongholds with air strikes over Raqqa, Syria, one man – a husband and a father of a 17-month-old boy – has penned an open letter to those responsible for killing his wife.
Helene Muyal-Leiris, 35, was killed in the Bataclan concert hall, and her husband, Antoine Leiris, has authored a defiant Facebook message – equal parts bold and passionate – that speaks for the loved ones of any of the nearly 130 victims who lost their lives.
Translated from French and edited for clarity, the full post, which has been shared tens of thousands of times over, reads:
Friday night, you took an exceptional life – the love of my life, the mother of my son – but you will not have my hatred. I don’t know who you are and I don’t want to know, you are dead souls. If this God, for whom you kill blindly, made us in his image, every bullet in the body of my wife would have been one more wound in his heart.
So, no, I will not grant you the gift of my hatred. You’re asking for it, but responding to hatred with anger is falling victim to the same ignorance that has made you what you are. You want me to be scared, to view my countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my liberty for my security. You lost.
I saw her this morning. Finally, after nights and days of waiting. She was just as beautiful as when she left on Friday night, just as beautiful as when I fell hopelessly in love over 12 years ago. Of course I am devastated by this pain, I give you this little victory, but the pain will be short-lived. I know that she will be with us every day and that we will find ourselves again in this paradise of free love to which you have no access.
We are just two, my son and me, but we are stronger than all the armies in the world. I don’t have any more time to devote to you. I have to join Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is barely 17-months-old. He will eat his meals as usual, and then we are going to play as usual, and for his whole life this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free. Because no, you will not have his hatred either.
The coordinated attacks on Nov. 13 also left close to 400 injured. According to CNN, nearly 100 remain in critical condition. Seven of the attackers were killed, either by police or by detonating suicide bombs strapped to their bodies.
A worldwide manhunt is underway for one of the suspects – the Belgian-born French national Salah Abdeslam, 26. Police said he is considered “dangerous.” Two men associated with Salah who were with him in the hours shortly after the attack have been arrested and charged with participating in a terrorist activity, NBC News reports.
President Francois Hollande said “France is at war” with ISIS. ISIS has since stated that Washington DC is its next potential target. “I swear to God, as we struck France in its stronghold Paris, we will strike America in its stronghold, Washington,” an unnamed ISIS militant declared in a video released Monday.
For more on the Paris attacks, see the articles below.
And see also:
Elsa Delplace Paris attacks: Mom shielded son, 5, from ISIS gunman with her body