“I want people, journalists, authors, writers, intellectuals, artists, take something from what happened, from their heritage, because we are responsible for freedom in our countries. And we need courage to tell the real truth, to not deny reality, even when it is complicated,” Philippe Val said through a translator in an interview with ABC News.
“I hope today that we find the strength and the courage to not be afraid, to tell things as they are," he added.
Val, who served as the head of Charlie Hebdo for 17 years, said he had known for decades two of the victims killed, cartoonists Jean Cabut and Georges Wolinski. Both Cabut and Wolinski had been with the newspaper since its inception in 1960.
“I can't accept that I will never see them again,” Val said. “I worked with Cabu for a very long time. We had been friends for 40 years. He was the type of man you don't come across often in a lifetime.”
Val added that he knew the newspaper had been under threat -- Charlie Hebdo was firebombed in 2011 after it published a feature with a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad -- and that he lived “for years” under police protection.
So when he heard about the attacks Wednesday, Val said, “I immediately thought about the people I loved, I immediately thought that something very serious had happened.”
“I think they tried to attack the ideas behind a free society. They tried to make people shut up and stop doing things that they found offensive,” Randazzo said in an interview with ABC News. “It is up to us, however, to make sure that we don’t allow fear, we don’t allow anger to dictate the kinds of things that we feel we can say.”
“Nobody should ever be killed for what they write, no matter how inflammatory it could be,” he added.
Randazzo served as an editor at The Onion for six years in its New York City offices, and said the Charlie Hebdo attacks “really hit home.”
"I've made so much of my career out of satire, out of enjoying the freedom of speech we have in America, and that all free societies should have, and whenever that freedom ... comes under threat, I think I feel like my very livelihood is coming under threat,” he said.
“We would joke at The Onion that if there were ever any armed radicals who were offended by anything we wrote...the only defense that we had at our office was our very petite office manager, Jessie. So it was something that existed at the back of our minds,” he said.
But the real threat, Randazzo said, is allowing the terror attacks on Charlie Hebdo to scare people into silence.