Antoine Leiris lost his wife, the mother to their 18-month-old son, in the attacks at the Bataclan concert hall. In the days following her death, he took to Facebook to pay tribute to “the love of [his] life”. But instead of expressing hatred and anger, his words of strength and resilience have been shared over 200,000 times and read by millions across the world.
“I will not give you the gift of hating you. Responding to hatred with anger would be to give in to the same ignorance that has made you what you are,” he wrote. “You want me to be afraid. To cast a mistrustful eye on my fellow citizens. To sacrifice my freedom for security. You lost.”
The BBC filmed the widower reading his letter aloud, and it’s been turned into a beautiful video that not only honours his own, but vows to stand up to terrorism in the future.
You can hear the full translated letter in Leiris’ own words in the video above.