Man Whose Wife Was Killed in Paris Attacks Writes Heartbreaking Open Letter to ISIS

"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."

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Hélène Muyal-Leiris, 35, was one of the 89 innocent people gunned down at the Bataclan concert hall during the Paris attacks on Friday evening. On Monday, her husband, Antoine Leiris, penned a powerful Facebook post (opens in new tab) addressed to ISIS, entitled "You Will Not Have My Hatred." 

In the post (originally written in French), Leiris says he will not give the terrorist organization the satisfaction of instilling him with anger and suspicion towards his fellow man. 

"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," he wrote. "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." 

Leiris went on to say that he saw his wife in the morning and that 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," he wrote. "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."

He finishes the letter by saying that even though now he and his 17-month-old son, Melvil, are on their own, they "are stronger than all the armies in the world." 

"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," he concluded. "Because no, you will not have his hatred either."

Posted by antoine.leiris on 

Sadly,  Hélène and Antoine were not the only couple that was torn apart in these attacks. On Saturday, Polina Buckley posted two photos of herself (opens in new tab) with her boyfriend, Eagles of Death Metal's merchandise manager, Nick Alexander, who was another one of the victims of the Bataclan shooting.  There are surely others broken up by the attacks as well. Hopefully Leiris's message of strength will help them persevere.

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Diana Bruk
Diana Bruk

My writing has regularly appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, Salon, VICE, Guernica, The New York Observer, BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Esquire, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, and many more publications.

I was previously the Senior News Editor at Best Life Online and the Viral Content Editor in the Newsroom of Hearst Digital Media. My portfolio consists of a vast and diverse body of work that includes personal essays, lifestyle articles, breaking news posts, and viral content. My areas of expertise, however, are Russia, sex and relationships, and mental wellness.