My rage only grows at the murder of cartoonists, artists armed only with wit, by masked gunmen shouting Islamic slogans in Paris today. The bursting slogan, Je suis Charlie, says "I am Charlie." If you speak, if you question, if you criticize, if you ridicule, you are Charlie Hebdo.

Philippe Val was very much Charlie. Comedian, singer, journalist, Val also helped resurrect the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 1992 and edited it until 2009. He now directs radio station France Inter. In an interview on France Inter today, he said, "I have lost all my friends today." He proceeded to eulogize his friends and demand a memorial of fearless defense of art, speech, and liberty. (He spoke in French; I translate and accept responsibility for any errors.)

These were people so full of life, whose hearts' desire was to bring pleasure to others, to make them laugh, to give them fertile ideas. They were good people. They were the best by far among us, like all people who make us laugh, who are for liberty, like all people who believe we should be able to come and go freely and in security. They were assassinated. It is intolerable butchery.

We must not let silence settle in. We must really help. Now we must come together against this horror. Terror must not put an end to the joy of living, to liberty, to expression, to democracy—all of that is at stake. It's this type of brotherhood that makes life posssible. We must not let this go; this is an act of war. Perhaps tomorrow it would be good if journalists would call themselves Charlie Hebdo. If we all would call ourselves Charlie Hebdo. If all France were Charlie Hebdo. That would show that we're not o.k. with this, that we will never let laughter be extinguished, that we will never let liberty be extinguished.

We can't let this go. These were absolutely magnificent people. Cabu was a genius, a genius of kindness, of talent. Charb, all these people, they are all dead, my friend Bernard Maris, all. We can't let this go. We should form a front, we should stand quite united. These weren't evil people; these were people who just wanted everyone to live happily. These were people who wanted humor to have a place in our lives, that's all. That's all, that's it, and that's what they were assassinated for.

This is just not tolerable. We must act. I'm sorry for speaking like this, but all these years, the media haven't been on top of this radicalization. Lots of Muslims should be devastated by this. They are in danger themselves. We haven't discussed enough this increase in fundamentalism in France. We haven't sounded the alarm enough. We've done what we could. We've often been alone. Today, I'm practically all alone. All my friends are gone. And they didn't die for some bad cause; they died just because they wanted everyone to be able to live, they wanted children to be able to come and go without danger.

There, it's horrible what's happened. This event marks a before and an after. Our country will no longer be the same. They've wiped out a certain way of doing journalism. They've wiped out all the people who could make us laugh about such grave ideas. It's an appalling death that descends upon us, but silence must not win. Elisabeth Badinter said of the [2007] lawsuit of cartoons, "If they are condemned, it's silence that will beat us down." So today, more than ever, we must say what we think.

I don't have religion. It's too bad; I would like to have religion today. If I did, I would say to my friends that I love them. I'd say how indispensable they were to my life, how indispensable they were to everyone else, how indispensable they are to all who need liberty to live.

(Nicolas Demorand): They made us laugh.

(Philippe Val): We laughed so much. Today laughing is very difficult, but that's the perfect weapon. Laughter is that weapon of brotherhood. We must let people laugh, let them ridicule the bastards. We must hold our ground, we must all be together. What has happened is very grave. We cannot live in this danger. We cannot live in fear.

[Philippe Val, radio interview with Nicolas Demorand, translated from transcript, Libération, 2015.01.07]

Nous sommes Charlie—we are Charlie. We must not be silent.