Here is the translation of Monsieur Leiris' words;
“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. 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.”
He is clearly articulate and caring. A devoted father and now a man who has tragically lost 'the love of his life'. You'd have to be a heartless monster not to admire him and applaud his determination to raise his son without anger.
But I felt really uncomfortable with his absolute refusal to respond with hatred and anger. ISIS want to dehumanise us. To them, we are nothing but infidels and apostates, kafir who are deserving of death. If a man is neutered by events so horrific that he cannot feel rage at the slaughter of his beautiful wife what has he become?
This is NOT a criticism of Antoine Leiris. How can I, from the comfort of my sofa with my wife and daughter safe upstairs possibly criticise or even comprehend what this poor man is going through? Yes, hatred and anger can be overwhelmingly negative but they are a part of our humanity, taking the scalpel to our emotions changes us forever.
I stand with the brave man, Antoine Leiris and though he probably wouldn't ask for it I'll hate those truly inhuman killers of his wife twice as strongly on his behalf.