Antoine Leiris among those answering jihadist hatred with hope and love
Antoine Leiris lost his wife in the Friday the 13th attacks on Paris, and he knows one thing he will not do.
“Friday night you stole the life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hatred,” Leiris wrote on Facebook Nov. 16, in a post that has been shared by almost a quarter of a million people who admires his courage.”You will not have my hatred.”
Leiris’ wife, Helene, was one of scores who were killed at a concert at Paris’ Bataclan theater. Militants of the Islamic State are believed to have carried out this and several other attacks, which collectively took the lives of 129 people.
But the young widower and father of a 17-month-old boy, like many of his fellow Parisians, refuses to live in fear.
“I do not know who you are and I do not want to know, you are dead souls,” Leiris wrote. “If God, for which you kill blindly made us in his image, every bullet in the body of my wife has been a wound in his heart.
Leiris asserted that answering the jihadists’ hatred with anger “would yield to the same ignorance that made you what you are.”
He admitted that he is devastated by the loss of his wife, but is confident that his grief will be short lived.
“I know she will accompany us every day and we will be in this paradise of free souls that you will never access,” he wrote.
Carrying on and living live with his son, Melvil, he stated, will make them “more powerful than the world’s armies.”
Meanwhile, a woman who posted a photo of her blood-stained shirt on Facebook and told of how she survived the attack by pretending to be dead also spoke about her decision to defeat terrorism with love and hope.
Isobel Bowdery, a 22-year-old from South Africa, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper: “It was important that if I was going to die, if the next bullet was for me, then I left saying I love you. So I said it to every single person I’ve ever loved (imagining them before me). And in that way it felt OK to die, because I had love in my heart.”
She said she didn’t want the jihadists’ “horrible actions to determine the end of my life … I didn’t want them to win. I wanted the people I loved to win, and to know they blessed me with an incredible life.”
“The lives of many were forever changed and it is up to us to be better people,” she writes in the Facebook post. “To live lives that the innocent victims of this tragedy dreamed about but sadly will now never be able to fulfill.”
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