Skip to comments.Musician's bamboo flutes destroyed at U.S. customs
Posted on 01/03/2014 3:13:20 AM PST by rickmichaels
A Canadian flutist has been left baffled and distraught after U.S. customs agents decided to destroy his traditional, handcrafted Middle Eastern bamboo flutes.
"I am still waiting for that answer," Boujemaa Razgui told CBC Radio's As It Happens, when asked why he thought U.S. Customs and Border Protection would destroy his instruments.
Razgui was flying from Madrid through New York's JFK airport to Boston. It was at JFK airport that officials found his flutes, and after classifying them as agricultural products, destroyed the flutes "in accordance with established protocols to prevent the introduction of plant pathogens into the United States," the border agency told As It Happens in a statement.
Razgui found out his instruments were missing when his instrument case didn't arrive at his home in Brockton, Mass. He rushed to Boston airport to find his flutes, and was given a phone number for the "department of destroying things," as he described the border agency. He phoned the agency and learned that his flutes were gone for good.
"They don't tell me anything they just act," Razgui complained.
Razgui insists that his flutes are no different from any other plant-based instrument. "Like guitars, they are all from plantsfrom trees and stuff," said Razgui. "They are dry."
But the border agency told As It Happens that it "discovered fresh green bamboo canes approximately three to four feet long" in unclaimed baggage that belonged to Razgui. Fresh bamboo is prohibited from entering the U.S., the agency said.
Since the purported "fresh bamboo" and Razgui's instruments were in the same container, he lost his entire collection of 13 flutesand with them, his livelihood.
"They were my life," Razgui said.
Finding the right bamboo for his flutes is not easy, as the variety he needs is not available in the Americas, said Razgui. His flutes were made from bamboo sourced from Morocco.
Razgui said he must also ensure that the stems are at least two years old so that they have the right knots and thickness for a proper flute.
Once he has the material, Razgui crafts the instruments himself, heating and cooling them alternately to tune them. "You have to tune it one time for life," he explained.
Razgui has played the flute for over 40 years and performed at concerts all over the world, including Toronto and Montreal. He insists that he just wants to play his flutes in the time he has left.
"I must have my flutes," said Razgui.
"Maybe tomorrow I'll be deadbut I need to play some flutes in peace."
I’m planning on visiting your country in March. It seems my only option is to enter your country in the nude, lest anything I have with me gets lost, destroyed, or stolen by the TSA.
I also think this is being done to try and destroy the US in as many ways as possible.
If he were alive today Horst Wessel would have no problem fitting in to almost any federal agency.
And how are these guys different from the Nazis?
Assuming you're a Canuck I give you the following instructions for you,on behalf of the TSA:
You re *not* to appear unclothed at our border *unless* you're female and look like either Shania Twain or Celine Dione did 20 years ago! ;-)
All these stipulations ... Four feet long is pretty unusual for a "flute", ... must be two years old ... just the right thickness ... and since when is Morocco a bamboo country ?
Another thing; "Since the purported "fresh bamboo" and Razgui's instruments were in the same container," ... There were obviously some raw materiel for making more flutes in the case.
Trying to explain all of this is harder than just burnin' them
Bad, losing instruments of any kind. Maybe a separate package for the raw materials next time....and/or the right import/customs paperwork for the green plant matter...
Woodwind reed players buy blanks when they want to roll their own. Bet those blanks came from somewhere, and had paperwork.
Just don't get excited. They're confiscating wood.
Go to Mexico and stroll in across the border!
A moron did this. So, so stupid.
Most TSA’s have only a GED and can read at an 8th grade level. They make less than 38K per year, and have the intelligence of a tree stump. Oh, by the way, it was announced in December since the creation of the TSA department, not one potential hijacker or terrorist has been caught. But thousands of guns, knives and box cutters have flown unmolested
Nude? Then expect to have your "baggage" handled anyway!
What is the NAME of the person who did this and when was s/he fired?
“And how are these guys different from the Nazis?”
The Nazis had better looking uniforms.
Bamboo, isn’t that what the eco-nuts tell us we should use instead of wood? How much bamboo is imported into the country each year? How much of that is raw? Yet processed and (I am assuming)seasoned bamboo flutes are a problem? Are they going to be taking away people’s bamboo flooring soon?
Why worry about anyone importing bamboo? Do you know how many groves, stands, or whatever they call bamboo I see growing wild around DC off the roads? Too late to try to stop it.
The same mentality will run our health insurance business...
Don’t knock the GED. Fewer than half of high school graduates could pass the test.
The NAZIs were more professional and wore arm bands.