In the spring of 2001, an Iranian film-maker flew from Hong Kong to Buenos Aires for a film festival. Along the way, he needed to transfer through New York's John F Kennedy airport. But as an Iranian, he needed a special transit visa to pass through the United States. He didn't have the paperwork, and he didn't speak enough English to explain. The federal agents detained him, and sent him back to Hong Kong in shackles. That story inspired the poet Mike Ladd and composer Vijay Iyer to begin a song cycle built around stories like that filmmaker's. Produced by Jocelyn Gonzales.

Related Stories