(Image taken from the internet)
Following the shooting last week on the Champs Elysées of the Paris policeman, Xavier Jugelé, a national ceremony to honour him was held on Tuesday of this week. President Hollande was there, as were the two leading candidates in the current French Presidential Election. Apparently, the murdered policeman had been one of the first to respond after the attack at the Bataclan Theatre in November 2015 when ninety people were killed as they attended a music concert, on that dreadful night that Paris will never forget.
One of the addresses given at that ceremony on Tuesday was from the husband of the murdered policeman. Etienne Cardiles described his husband as “a lover of music and theatre” and “a man full of culture and joy”, and he used the phrase first coined by Antoine Leiris, whose wife was murdered at the Bataclan, “You will not have my hate.” He told the assembled gathering that he was suffering, but without hate.
I was very moved to hear what he said, and I would like to include the English translation, in this post where I express my gratitude for things that I am particularly grateful for in the past week.
“When I first got messages saying something had happened on the Champs Elysées, and that a policeman had died, a small voice told me it was you, and brought back to me that generous and healing phrase: You will not have my hate.”
“I don’t feel hatred, Xavier, because it is not like you – because it does not correspond to anything that made your heart beat, nor why you entered the police force. Because public service, helping others and protecting everyone was part of your education and your convictions – and tolerance, dialogue and patience.”
He went on to speak of his husband’s love of music, films and theatre, saying:
“Theatre transported you to another world, where you lived fully…You would shy away from no cultural activity.”
“A life of joy and laughter, in which love and tolerance were your strongest weapons…You lived like a star , and leave like a star.”
A wonderful tribute to a man, from the man who loved him. After the Paris shootings of November 2015, I read Antoine Leiris’ book in its English translation You will not have my Hate. I intend to re-read it in the next week or so in the light of this latest atrocity.
Of all the good things that have happened in my life this week, and there are quite a few, and I have lots to be grateful for this week, it is these moving words, and the sentiments that Etienne Cardiles expressed that make everything else pale into insignificance, and it is those words for which I am most grateful this week. “You will not have my hate.”