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Francoise Mouly Mourns Charlie Hebdo Cartoonists: 'I'm Proud To Have Known Them'

01/08/2015 11:06 EST | Updated 01/09/2015 01:59 EST

The New Yorker’s longtime art editor says the French satire magazine journalists who were killed by their desks on Wednesday were victims of a “mindless crime.”

Francoise Mouly spoke to NPR’s Melissa Block, hours after masked gunmen had charged into Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris earlier in the day. Twelve people were killed in the daytime shootings, including eight journalists.

Mouly, who was born in Paris before she moved to New York City, credits the pages of Charlie Hebdo for opening her eyes to “the adult world” in the late ‘60s. She touched on the publication’s lewd, stupid voice and offensive streak; characteristics that secured their places in a long tradition of French satire.

“... It was trying to be a provocateur in the most healthy sense of the word, meaning not just provocation for provocation’s sake, but to challenge the status quo,” she explained.

The New Yorker, under Mouly’s art direction, has also found itself embroiled in controversies in the past over some of its cover illustrations. But she described the massacre in Paris as a tragedy that hit all her worlds at once.

“For me, it hit me on so many different fronts because it’s rare that my professional life as the art editor of The New Yorker, somebody who is in touch with cartoonists all the time, and my background as a French kid collapse and certainly collapsing in such a tragic way,” Mouly explained.

“It’s like everything that I have lived for got maimed and hurt and attacked, but on the other hand, I’m also incredibly proud of them,” she continued.

“I’m proud to have known them and proud of cartoonists for showing such courage.”

And for the publishers of Charlie Hebdo, the magazine will live on despite the murders of some of its senior leaders.

According to The Guardian, surviving staff plan to produce an issue for publication next week, promising one million copies – up from its usual run of 60,000.

Listen to Mouly’s full interview with NPR here.

Charlie Hebdo Staff Killed In Paris Attack