When being ‘American’ gets in the way

Street art in Cairo in 2012. (Tony Ganzer)

“Where do you come from?” A Libyan asked me, his face still skeptical of me and my recorder. I could feel my chance slipping away.

Me? Where do I come from?” I asked, hoping the question would be dropped, as we stood awkwardly in the center of the Swiss border town of Chiasso.

My business with this man, and another fellow, was to interview them about uncomfortable topics…