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Foreign Policy: When U.S. Customs Smashed Boujemaa Razgui's 11 Nay Flutes...the Other Side of the Story

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Jan 03, 2014 02:33 PM EST | James Inverne (j.inverne@classicalite.com)

When U.S. Customs Smashed Boujemaa Razgui's 11 Nay Flutes...the Other Side of the Story

U.S. customs believes they acted correctly toward's "the agricultural threat" of Canadian (via Boston) musician Boujemaa Razgui and his 11 rare flutes. Now, they have stated their case. (Photo : www.cbp.gov‎)

Let nobody say that both sides of a story never get an airing. The news that 11 rare flutes had been destroyed by U.S. customs officials has been greeted with horror by the music community. The instruments--nay flutes, actually--belonged to the Canadian musician Boujemaa Razgui.

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Yet, Foreign Policy magazine carries the story from the good people at customs.

"The fresh bamboo canes were seized and destroyed in accordance with established protocols to prevent the introduction of plant pathogens into the United States," a spokesman told the magazine. He also said that Razgui's luggage had not been claimed (which Razgui denies) and that the musician was not asked before the instruments were destroyed.

There have been increasing concerns around the transportation of instruments in recent years. These have ranged from the conditions for flying bulky items such as cellos, to taxes on string instruments coming into some European destinations, to, yes, the odd bit of instrument smashing.

But this latest story is by far the most spectacular yet--and not in a good way.

As per the Boston Globe, everyone with sense understands the importance of customs and the sensitivities in the United States. However, there must be a far better way of going about their business than this.

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