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CFUV @ VFF 2017: Skyjacker’s Tale


I remember being on a small airplane flying between Caribbean islands when I was a tween, back in the early 70s, and the joke was “take me to Cuba.”  The adults would laugh about it but I never really understood what it was about.  Thanks to Jamie Kastner and The Skyjacker’s Tale, I can finally put those pieces together.


My parents and I lived in the Caribbean for a couple or three years, my dad was working in oil refineries there.  We visited St. Thomas, in the Virgin Islands.  I don’t recall hearing the story about the murder on the golf course, but I do remember the innuendo.  My parents were good upstanding British citizens who had fought in the war, for the empire.  They weren’t overtly racist, but they questioned the native (black) population’s ability to “fend for themselves” as ideas of independence spread through the region.  Part of the reason we moved back to Canada was because they were afraid for me, a young blond girl reaching adulthood.


Ishmael Muslim Ali may or may not be guilty of murder.  Many thousands of people (many of them black) currently imprisoned may or may not be guilty of their crimes.  Ismael hijacked an airplane to Cuba, and he spent time in prison there.  Apparently Cuba has some method of rehabilitation, because Ishmael is no longer in prison.  He’s a functioning member of Cuban society, with a family and friends.  Maybe more importantly than the question of his innocence would be an examination of Cuba’s judicial system.  All kinds of people commit crimes, not all of them ever see the inside of a courtroom.  Many people go to prison without ever going to trial.


I’m thinking some more about The Prison in Twelve Landscapes ….




For more of CFUV’s VFF coverage click here.


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