Acts of Creative Resistance: 12 Ways to Subvert the Intention of Terror

1) Be kind to everyone you meet.

2) Be not afraid. Or be afraid, but act from a place of love instead of from a place of fear.

3) Create things. Terror hates art and music and free expression of the life of the spirit.

4) Read books. Read lots of books. Read books about a wide variety of topics. Terror hates independent learning and critical thinking.

5) Learn about the Middle East, North Africa, and Southwest Asia. Seek out multiple perspectives on their history, culture, and conflict. Read fiction in translation, listen to music from these regions, and read online English language newspapers, magazines, and blog sites produced there.

6) Reach out to your Muslim neighbors. Build relationships. Learn about Islam. Learn about Islam from Muslims themselves. After 9/11, I visited a local mosque during Friday prayers as an act of both solidarity and curiosity. I was received with great kindness – and have always been greeted with hospitality from Muslims encountered elsewhere.  (bonus: other interreligious relationships are good too)

7) Root our defiance of terror in our love for the world (the whole world and its people and all of creation) rather than in anger, bitterness, or hatred.

8) Admit that the United States has often not been a benevolent presence in the world, that we’ve caused (and do cause) harm and pain. Admit we have problems in our country of our own making. Admit to the troubled parts of our history and our current national reality and work toward national accountability.

9) Admit the United States is in many ways a great country. It is our home and we heal it best through our love. Love it enough to want to work with others to make it better, to make it live up to its ideals. This is an act of citizenship and of courage.

10) Look beyond the cable and network news 24/7 focus on any one issue of the moment. Technology gives us access to information from global perspectives. Evaluate the source of news and consider its ideological underpinnings. Recognize that all sources and all people operate from a place of ideology.

11) Pray for the whole world and all the people in it, without exception.

12) Live life with all the joy you can muster, while yet ever acknowledging the world’s pain.