‘I won’t give you the gift of hating you’—A Parisian man’s moving message to his wife’s killers

Gone but not forgotten.
Gone but not forgotten.
Image: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber
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A man who lost the “love of his life” in the Paris attacks has written a devastating message in his wife’s memory, promising to raise their son to be “happy and free.”

In a powerful Facebook post, Antoine Leiris writes that he refuses to spend a moment of his time hating the Paris attackers, or teaching his son to do the same. “I do not know who you are, and I don’t want to know—you are dead souls,” writes Leiris in French, whose wife Helene died in attacks on the Bataclan last Friday.

I saw her this morning. Finally, after nights and days of waiting. She was as beautiful as when she left the house on Friday night, as beautiful as when I fell helplessly in love more than 12 years ago. Of course I’m devastated with grief, I concede you that little victory, but the victory will be short. I know that she is with us every day, and that we will find each other again in that paradise of free souls, where you will never enter.”

Leiris writes that he refuses to be afraid, and adds that he will not grow paranoid of his fellow citizens, or give up his freedom for security. Instead, he says, he will raise his young son Melvil to live a normal, well-adjusted life:

“I have no more time for you; I have to go be with Melvil, who is waking up from his nap. He’s barely 17 months old, he is going eat his snack just like every day, then we are going to play just like every day, and all his life, this little boy will insult you with his happiness and freedom.”