United States Customs and Border Patrol is under fire after a new report revealed that officials there confiscated nearly a dozen homemade instruments from a Canadian man and proceeded to destroy them.
Canadian-born flute player Boujemaa Razgui was flying from Marrakech, Morocco back home to New York when Customs officials at John F. Kennedy International Airport asked to see the instruments he had on hand. Razgui was carrying 11 instruments with him at the time, each of which was built himself and corresponded to varying sets of musical pieces.
According to the Slipped Discs blog at ArtsJournal.com, the agents then took the instruments out of the musician’s luggage and “smashed” each one.
When contacted by the blog, Razgui expressed his unhappiness with the situation.
“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?”
Another musician told the blog, “I can’t think of an uglier, stupider thing for the US government to do than to deprive this man of the tools of his art and a big piece of his livelihood.”
Although declaring musical instruments as agricultural products may seem strange, US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) have strict guidelines when it comes to bringing in items made out of raw material, including bamboo products.