I remember giddily posting on Sunday that France wasted no time in dropping 20 bombs on ISIS posts in Syria. I remember thinking it was a clever touch that they penned ‘From Paris, With Love‘ on the American missiles bound for ISIS strongholds. And although I agree that strikes are necessary after such senseless crimes were committed, I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable with feeling so comfortable with all the chaos. Like dropping almost two dozen bombs on anyone shouldn’t elicit such a positive reaction, regardless if it’s justified or not.
And after reading a piece written by Nicolas Hénin, a Frenchman who had been held captive for 10 months by ISIS in Syria, which said that they fear our unity more than they fear our airstrikes, it added a new layer of perspective for me. Compassion and unity may be as lethal as any airstrike could.
Antoine Leiris shares that same sentiment. Leiris lost his wife Helene in the attack on the Bataclan Theater in Paris and shared a powerful tribute on Facebook that has been shared thousands of times.
Here’s the transcript of the audio message:
You want me to be frightened.
“Friday night you took away the life of an exceptional human being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hatred,” Leiris wrote.
I do not know who you are, and I do not wish to. You are dead souls. If this God for whom you kill so blindly has made us in His image, every bullet in the body of my wife will have been a wound in His heart.
So I will not give you the privilege of hating you. You certainly sought it, but replying to hatred with anger would be giving in to the same ignorance which made you into what you are. You want me to be frightened, that I should look into the eyes of my fellow citizens with distrust, that I sacrifice my freedom for security. You lost. I will carry on as before.
I saw her this morning. Finally, after nights and days of waiting. She was as beautiful as when she left on Friday evening, as beautiful as when I fell madly in love with her more than 12 years ago. I am of course devastated by heartbreak, I’ll cede you that little victory, but it will be short-lived. I know that she will be with us every day and that we will meet again in a paradise of free souls to which you will never have access.”
There are only two of us, my son and I, but we are stronger than all the armies of the world. Moreover, I have no more time to grant you, I must go to Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is just 17-months-old. He will eat his snack like he does every day, then we will play like we do every day and every day of his life this little boy will affront you by being happy and free. Because you will not have his hatred either.”
Rest in Peace, Helene.