Customs officials destroy virtuoso flautist’s 11 instruments because they were ‘agricultural products’
By Scott Kaufman
December 31, 2013
A flute virtuoso was returning to New York via John F. Kennedy Airport when Customs officials confiscated and destroyed the instruments he was carrying with him.
According to Boujemaa Razgui, the officials told him that his 11 flutes — each of which he had constructed, by hand, himself — “were agricultural products and had to be destroyed.”
Razgui, who is a Canadian citizen, frequently travels with a variety of flutes, each of which is designed to be played with a specific ancient or modern genre in mind.
Slipped Disc’s Norman Lebrecht contacted Razgui, who recounted his ordeal with customs. “I told them I had these instruments for many years and flew with them in and out,” he said.
“There were 11 instruments in all. They told me they were agricultural products and they had to be destroyed. There was nothing I could do. The ney flute can be made with bamboo. Is that agricultural?”
Razgui also told Lebrecht that, as a non-citizen, he was reluctant to confront U.S. Customs officials.