Lois Abdelmalek (standing), Taysha Marie Canales, Justin Jain, Sarah Gliko, and Anthony Martinez-Briggs in KISS. Photo by Johann Austin.


This note was prepared before the devastating earthquake of February 6, 2023. For resources regarding the latter, please scroll down.

Thank you for attending Kiss!

Now that you’ve seen the show, we’ve collected some resources and materials that might help you think through the production’s questions and provocations – and then move those reflections into action.

Some of the things we’ve been asking as we explore the impact of this show include: What is the role of an international community in a local uprising or contest over power? What role can artists hope to play in the building of meaningful cross-cultural, transnational solidarity? Given the history of American imperialism, how can progressives be smart, today, about advocating for and against intervention in the Middle East and beyond? We don’t have answers (or the same answers!) to all of these but we hope Kiss invited you to explore these questions and others who saw or with whom you’ve talked about the show.

For most of 2022, Ukraine was the focus of global humanitarian action. But the situation in Syria and for displaced Syrians in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey in 2022 and 2023 is in many ways as dire as it was in 2014 when images of Hungarian border guards tripping fleeing families first made international headlines and pushed Syria into the humanitarian limelight. The question of where that light gets shone and the relative obscurity of Sudan, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and Syria is something all global citizens of conscience need to reckon with. 

In the meantime, the most meaningful solidarity might start at home. In your own reading lists and podcast queue, among your neighbors, with your friends. Syrian artists, students, and families are and have been in Philly and are eager to share their stories. Those in the position to do so can make a huge impact on whole communities by hiring Syrians, other immigrants and refugees, and supporting their businesses.

Below we’ve collected some reading, listening, and viewing that might help those eager to continue unraveling what solidarity with Syria could look like as well as a list of local arts and culture outfits hosting and supporting Syrians in Philly today.


Rayya El Zein, “How People Outside Syria Can Think about Helping Syrians.” Vox December 19, 2016.

  • This piece responds to the outpouring of concern from the international community around atrocities in Aleppo in the beginning of 2016. It tries to step back from the urgency of that moment to offer alternatives for thinking about what solidarity can look like – from local organizing to political education to mourning. 

Rohini Hensman, Indefensible: Democracy, Counterrevolution, and the Rhetoric of Anti-Imperialism. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2018.

  • This indispensable book takes a critical look at progressive and leftist discourses that have foregrounded “anti-imperialism” over all else. The chapters on Syria explore how an American left, eager not to expand a military footprint in the Middle East, ended up emboldening authoritarian actors in Syria.

Malu Halasa, Zaher Omareen, and Nawara Mahfoud, eds. Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline. London: Saqi Books, 2014.

  • An interdisciplinary compilation of original poetry, song, visual art, and analysis from Syrian artists and authors and regional specialists. A compelling snapshot of the creativity of the early years of the Syrian revolution.


The Refugee Monologue Podcast, hosted by Kiss director Fadi Skeiker

“Good morning, Kafranbel,” reporter Dana Ballout on the podcast This American Life (2019) about a community radio station in Kafranbel, Syria.

“Syria’s Stolen Memories” a story about preserving cultural heritage in Syria in the podcast Kerning Cultures (2022)


As Far as My Fingertips Can Take Me (Tania El Khoury and Basel Daraa) performance piece featuring original music and poetry exploring experiences of Syrian refugees immigrating to Europe. 


Nationalities Service Center, 100+year old local organization serving immigrant communities. Runs up-to-date database and newsletter with information about volunteer opportunities and where to donate.  

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society Pennsylvania (HIAS PA), Pennsylvania chapter of a national org. Runs an up-to-date newsletter with resources for where to donate and volunteer to support local immigrant communities

Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture: performances, workshops, festivals, language classes hosted by the Philadelphia area Arab-American community.

12 Gates Arts: Old City gallery showcasing international, multidisciplinary arts crossing geographic and cultural boundaries.

Friends, Peace, Sanctuary Project, Swarthmore College 2017-2019

Syria in Ink, Molly Crabapple and Marwan Hisham, Haverford College (2019)

YallaPunk, queer, SWANA-focuses musical festival (currently on hiatus)

Resources for those looking to donate funds from abroad to rescue efforts/survivors of the February 6 earthquake:

The Turkish Life, Blogpost collecting resources 

International Federation of the Red Cross/ Red Crescent Societies

AhbapTurkish NGO

Smile and Olive Foundation, US non profit raising funds to provide support to Syrian refugees & their host communities: 

Nu Day Syria, US non profit organization empowering Syria’s women and children

The White Helmets 

Molham Team


From Dr. Omar Foda

From @fatimazsaid