Former Charlie Hebdo director on shooting: 'I've lost all my friends'
In a moving tribute to his slain colleagues, a former Charlie Hebdo director said he has lost all his friends in an "unbearable butchery".
In an interview with France Inter radio, Phillipe Val said the journalists shot by three masked gunmen who stormed the magazine's offices today were "such lively people who put their heart into making people happy, making them laugh, giving them generous ideas."
"They were the best of us, of course, like all the people who make us laugh, who are for freedom, like all the people who are in favour of us coming and going freely and safely," Val said.
"They were assassinated, it is an unbearable butchery."
Audibly distressed, Val broke down on air as he spoke of Jean Cabut, known as "Cabu", editor Stephane "Charb" Charbonnier, and Bernard Maris, an economist who contributor to the newspaper and was heard regularly on French radio.
"Today, I am alone. All my friends have gone," he said.
"Cabu was a genius, a genius of goodness and talent, some talent.
"Charb, all these people, they are all dead, my friend Bernard Maris, all of them."
The shooting victims were "people who wanted humour to have a place in our lives, that's all."
"They were not mean people, they were people who just wanted us to live happily.
"That's all, that's it, that's it and that's what has been murdered."
The attack would create a "before and an after", Val said.
"We have exterminated a certain way of doing journalism.
"We have exterminated all the people who were able to make us laugh with serious ideas."
Val said as much as he would like to have faith today, he did not.
"If I had it, I would tell them how much I love them, how essential they were in my life, how essential they were to all the others, how essential they were for all the people who need freedom to live."
Laughter was "the absolute weapon", Val said.
"It's the weapon of fraternity.
"We cannot live in this danger, we cannot live in fear."
Val said terror could not be allowed to get in the way of the freedom of expression, and people had to rally together against the horror of the day.
"We must front up, we must continue to show solidarity.
"It's an unbearable mourning that falls upon us but we must not let silence win.
"Today, more than ever, we must say what we think."