"We are just two"

Bereft husband and father captivates millions with tribute to wife, defiant open letter to ISIS

Screenshot courtesy BBC

A defiant tribute by a husband to his wife, who perished in the Paris attacks, has struck a chord with millions of people. Journalist Antoine Leiris posted his forceful and loving message about his wife, Helene Muyal, on his Facebook page on Monday, addressing ISIS directly with his refusal to acquiesce to their demands: “You Will Not Have My Hatred.”

Muyal, 35, a make-up artist, was gunned down at the Bataclan concert hall on Friday night when ISIS militants launched co-ordinated attacks across the city, killing at least 129 people. She was among 89 people killed at the Bataclan. In addition to Leiris, Muyal leaves behind their 17-month-old son, Melvil.

Leiris made his original post in French, but has since read an English version for the BBC (that has been viewed more than 9 million times) and been translated by various other news services.


Antoine Leiris (screenshot courtesy BBC)

“Friday night you stole the life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you won’t have my hatred,” he began. “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.”


(Screenshot courtesy BBC)

Hear Antoine Leiris read his tribute in English at the BBC, read more at The Guardian and see the original Facebook post here.

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