Last Thursday, on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, a single shooter killed a 37-year-old police officer named Xavier Jugelé in the name of ISIS. For days, the news cycle — and President Trump — focused on how that terror attack would impact the French election.
But the biggest impact was on one man, Etienne Cardiles, Jugelé’s life partner.
So it was fitting that for one moment yesterday, all eyes in Paris turned away from the results of the contentious French election and toward Cardiles, who gave an incredibly stoic, moving eulogy for his lost love. It was a tribute to the man that Jugelé was — but it was also a poignant statement against the hatred that could tear France apart. Watch it below, posted by UK’s Channel 4 with English subtitles:
Policeman's husband delivers emotional eulogy
“I don't feel hatred Xavier…because tolerance, dialogue and patience were your strongest weapons.” The husband of the policeman who was murdered last week in Paris delivers an emotional eulogy at his memorial service.Posted by Channel 4 News on יום שלישי 25 אפריל 2017
"I returned home that evening without you, with profound and extreme pain. That may weaken one day; I don't know," Cardiles said. He spoke of the suffering, in silence, of Jugelé’s colleagues, and of himself.
“As for me, I’m suffering without hate,” he said, as the two presidential candidates left standing after Sunday’s fractious election — Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen — looked on.
When the first messages appeared that warned Parisians that a serious event was ongoing on the Champs-Élysées and that a police officer had lost his life, a little voice told me it was you ... and brought me back to that generous and healing phrase: “You will not have my hate.” I don’t feel hatred, Xavier, because it is not like you.
Jugelé was known for many things: He was a defender of LGBTQ rights, and he was one of the first on the scene at the terror attack on the Bataclan nightclub in November 2015.
After that attack killed a young mother named Hélène Muyal-Leiris, her husband, Antoine Leiris, wrote an open letter to the attackers that quickly became a symbol of hope and healing in the midst of great horror, with the phrase that Cardiles now turned to in his moment of grief: “You will not have my hate.”
“On 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 hate. I don’t know who you are and I don’t want to know. You are dead souls,” Leiris wrote at the time. “You want me to be scared, to see my fellow citizens through suspicious eyes, to sacrifice my freedom for security. You have failed. I will not change.”
Jugelé himself returned to Bataclan when Sting reopened the venue. At the time, he told People magazine, “I’m happy to be here. Glad the Bataclan is reopening. It’s symbolic. We’re here tonight as witnesses. Here to defend our civic values. This concert’s to celebrate life. To say no to terrorists.”