Last week’s horrific attacks on Paris has everyone talking about safety, especially at a time when many people are planning trips for the upcoming holidays. Is it safe to travel? Should I postpone my flight? Do we have to avoid European regions that might be targets on ISIS’ agenda? If you’re asking yourself any of these questions, then ISIS’ mission is partly accomplished — the group means to instill crippling fear into us all.

However, that’s not the right path to take, and a French man who lost his wife, the mother of his 17-month-old boy, wrote a riveting response to ISIS. It’s easily the best one I’ve seen so far. 

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Here is Antoine Leiris’ message in full:

On Friday night, you stole away the life of an exceptional being. The love of my life, the mother of my son. But you will not have my hatred.

I do not know who you are, and I don’t want to know – you are dead souls. If the God for whom you kill so blindly made us in his image, each bullet in my wife’s body would have been a wound in his heart.

Therefore I will not give you the gift of hating you. You have obviously sought it, but responding to it with anger would be to give in to the same ignorance that has made you what you are.

You want me to be afraid? To cast a mistrustful eye on my fellow citizens? To sacrifice my freedom for security? You lost. Same player. Same game.

I saw her this morning, finally after nights and days of waiting. She was just as beautiful as she was when she left on Friday evening. As beautiful as when I fell madly in love with her more than 12 years ago.

Of course I’m devastated with grief – I will give you that tiny victory. But this will be a short-term grief. I know that she will join us every day and that we will find each other again in the paradise of free souls which you will never have access to.

We are only two, my son and I, but we are more powerful than the world’s armies. In any case, I have no more time to waste on you. I need to get back to Melvil, who is waking up from his afternoon nap. He’s just 17 months old. He’ll eat his snack like every day and then we’re going to play like we do every day. And every day of his life this little boy will insult you with his happiness and freedom, because you don’t have his hatred either.

A BBC video translation of the message above (which was posted in French originally) went viral on Facebook, having been shared more than 800,000 times and seen more than 53 million times in just a few days – see it below.

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