Last night (August 16), Tankian took to social media to publicly urge Imagine Dragons to call off their Baku concert after he had sent them a private letter but received no response.
In his post, the System Of A Down frontman pointed out how “Azerbaijan’s petro-oligarchic dictatorial regime was starving 120k people in Nagorno-Karabagh which is now being called a Genocide by the former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.”
Per Tankian’s post, he had sent a “kind letter” to the band through representatives “urging them to reconsider” the show. His post also includes a change.org petition.
Tankian wrote: “As the humanitarian crisis worsens in Nagorno-Karabagh with starvation already being recorded I am forced to publicize this letter and their disregard for this humanitarian catastrophe. Maybe they felt they had a legal liability to play the show, maybe they just don’t care. My whole life I have been an advocate for genocide recognition and have always said there has to be a price to pay for Genocidal regimes or deniers. Another genocide is looming by Azerbaijan and while this happens they get to enjoy an American band from LV. Fuck that! That’s not right.”
Read Serj Tankian’s full post below.
Now it has to be said.A few months ago, it came to my attention that Imagine Dragons had planned a show on Sept 2nd in…
In his letter to Imagine Dragons, Tankian started off by congratulating the American band on their success thus far. “One of the things I appreciate about you as artists is that you’re active proponents of various human rights issues and social causes. Your work with Amnesty International and your outspokenness about the war in Ukraine among them,” he wrote.
Going on to address the severity of the situation, and why Imagine Dragons should cancel the show, Tankian explained: “This is due to the horrendous human rights violations carried out by the corrupt petro-oligarchic dictatorship of Ilham Aliyev against not only his own people, but thousands of Armenians (my people). Since 2020, Azerbaijan has created war against Armenians, killing thousands, displacing tens of thousands and terrorizing countless more via an illegal blockade that has been ordered to be reopened by the ICJ and the European Court of Human Rights.”
“With the world in so much turmoil since COVID and the subsequent war in Ukraine, too much of the world is still unaware of what’s happening to Armenians by Aliyev’s regime. They’ve invaded Armenia and have been carrying out heinous human rights violations with impunity. International events and performances by artists have only served to normalize and whitewash their status among the family of nations.”
Serj Tankian wrote in conclusion: “I really feel that performing in Azerbaijan would have a negative impact on your brand as well. I’m confident that you can decipher all the facts for yourselves to decide whether to cancel your concert. Either way, I truly appreciate your time and consideration. Thanks for hearing me out and I hope to meet you all one day.”
The change.org petition that Tankian included in his post also emphasises: “Imagine Dragons needs to be made aware they are being USED to white-wash the criminal & genocidal Aliyev regime of Azerbaijan.”
In September last year, System Of A Down condemned the “evil aggression” against their home country Armenia in the wake of bombings that took place along the nation’s eastern border.
The band – all of whom are of Armenian descent – were at the forefront of campaigning for recognition of the Armenian genocide of 1915, and have continued with their efforts speak up for the nation amid ongoing unrest.
Back in 2020, System Of A Down released ‘Protect The Land’ and ‘Genocidal Humanoidz’ in a bid to raise awareness and funds amid “a dire and serious war being perpetrated upon [their] cultural homelands”. The pair of singles marked SOAD’s first new material in 15 years.
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