Flute virtuoso's rare instruments destroyed by US customs


Better safe than sorry. Suppose it really had been bamboo? Can you imagine how the custom inspectors would feel, knowing they had admitted actual bamboo flutes into the country? Shakuhachi terror, man, it’s for real.


Razgui says he had made all of the instruments using hard-to-find reeds

Maybe I’m splitting hairs, but hard-to-find != rare.

Diamonds are hard to find in the laborious sense, but they’re not exactly “rare.” Perhaps these reeds are hard to find simply because they’re not native to Canada, rather than being some elusive endangered species that only grows on one hillside of one isolated mountain range.

And he put these incredibly rare items in checked luggage because?

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…he’s been doing it since at least 2002 without problems? [source: TFA:unamused:]


Are you suggesting he should somehow have expected his musical instruments to be destroyed by customs as agricultural contraband?


Maybe besides being a dangerous bamboo, the flute was also a dangerous weapon. You know, it could be used as a pipe bomb if filled with gunpowder.


And rather than recognize musical instruments and at least ask the owner, a tax paid moron just destroyed them. The ignorance is painful. People this stupid should be employed someplace where they can’t cause harm.


Well this blows! Err or not…


Just out of curiosity - if they were made out of bamboo (instead of “hard to find [unspecificied] reeds”), would the government employee have been justified in destroying them? Do we know if the reeds that they WERE made from are allowed to be imported into the States? The article is a little light on details.


You should expect any number of horrible things to happen to anything you check. If something is irreplaceable you don’t let it out of your site.

That’s just common sense.


That is victim-blaming. No one should expect to have their stuff destroyed by an ignorant person for no reason. We pay enormous amounts of tax money, airport fees and ticket charges, and it is totally reasonable to expect that your stuff won’t be destroyed for no reason. Not to say that accidents don’t happen, or force majeur if there is a flood or fire, but just “crushed and destroyed by idiot” isn’t something you should have to expect.


I’ve held this revolver to my head and pulled the trigger fives times, nothing bad can possibly happen the sixth time.

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No it’s called the real world.


I get where your cynicism is coming from - I too make my packing choices on the assumption that the TSA and other departments are going to abuse it unreasonably. But just because that is the real world doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t be pissed off about it. Sounds like you think everything is fine the way it is, and no one should ever be upset about what the government does to fuck with them.



Again common sense that every musician should know. Don’t check your instruments.

Just like you don’t check your medication or medical devices.


He is fortunate they (US Customs) did not subject him too cavity searches.

Not saying he shouldn’t be pissed off. Saying it was a dumb move and one that should be avoided and if he had used a tiny bit of common sense he would still have his instruments.

Did any of the flutes have 'this machine kills fascists" written on them?

That could explain it.


From the US Customs and Border Patrol website

Is bamboo allowed to be imported to the US?

In general, bamboo that is not thoroughly dried and is therefore still capable of propagation is prohibited entry into the United States.

Bamboo that is thoroughly dried and split or cut lengthwise (rendering it incapable of propagation) will be inspected upon entry and released.

Unsplit dried bamboo canes/stakes/poles also are allowed entry into the United States after inspection: however, if the bamboo canes/stakes/poles are intended for garden or nursery use, the shipment must be fumigated (T404-d treatment extended to 24 hours) upon arrival at the U.S. port of entry.

Bamboo furniture, bamboo cloth, and other manufactured products made of bamboo do not require fumigation and will be released upon inspection.

His flutes were cut, dried, and incapable of propagation. The border patrol agent was clearly in the wrong.