We can mourn for the three cities that were attacked: Beirut, Baghdad, and Paris.
We can extend our empathy and aid to the survivors of these attacks, and to those refugees fleeing the terrorist violence Daesh has caused in Syria and other parts of the Middle East.
We can remember the ordinary people who become heroes in these moments, like Adel Termos, who sacrificed his life and his daughter’s to save others.
We can realize that many of those heroes are themselves Muslims.
We can recognize the fact that terrorists claiming to be striking in the name of Islam represent the tiniest fraction of Muslims, and overwhelmingly target and murder Muslim civilians. We can avoid blaming all Muslims for the actions of a few.
We can fight hate with love and solidarity. We can refuse to let terrorists dictate who and what we love, who and what we fear, where and what we do. We can fight them by refusing to be afraid, and by keeping any military response measured and narrowly-targeted, rather than wildly striking out at anyone and everyone who is or merely looks Muslim.
We can refuse to give Daesh any iota of respect, beginning with calling them Daesh rather than their preferred name. We can recognize them not as a political entity, but a criminal enterprise. We can refuse them the recognition they crave.
We can recognize that these attacks are meant to divide us, and that part of their goal is to drive a wedge between our cultures. We can refuse to be divided. We can refuse to attack the innocent, instead directing our anger where it belongs: to the actual terrorists. We can call out the xenophobic among us who will use these attacks to fuel their own narrative that all Muslims are bad. We can resist the calls to bomb entire countries and communities for the actions of a rogue few.
We can realize that “Nothing could be more devastating to [Daesh’s] plans than for the West to embrace its peace-loving Muslim citizens and join with them in denouncing this kind of racist, divisive, violent evil. Well, one thing, maybe: if the West could also find some way to scale back its relentless aggression and exploitation of the Middle East.” We could do these things, and thus remove a huge proportion of Daesh’s power.
We could take this pledge against Daesh, and in doing so, cripple them in ways that no military campaign could ever achieve.
We could take this moment to make the world a far better, kinder place, rather than assisting Daesh in tearing it apart.
Above all, we can remember that we’re all in this together, and together, we can make it through.
We can do all of these things.