The Grammy-award winning band has embarked on its “Wake Up the Souls’ tour of concerts planned for the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide with a concert held at The Forum in Los Angeles on April 6. The tour will end in Yerevan on April 23.
System of A Down presented their new tour with a press conference, which was also attended by Congressman Adam Schiff, Prof. Taner Akçam of the Department of History at Clark University, and Aram Hamparian, the Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America. Participants called on the governments of Turkey and the USA to recognize the Genocide.
Vocalist Serj Tankian stated that it was an honour for them to be performing on the Centennial of the Genocide, adding, “Genocide is a disease that continues today. As a group American Armenians whose families lost their lives during this tragedy, it is important for us to draw attention to this cause.”
Drummer Dolmayan told the story of his uncle who grew up in an orphanage in Greece after losing his family during the Genocide, adding, “This story is still with us, while denial is a spit in the face of us every year”.
Taner Akçam, speaking at the conference, said, ‘Recognizing the Genocide is not only a matter of ethics. It is also about the security of the Middle East. The past in question is the present of the Middle East. What else is required to finally see this simple fact?’
After Los Angeles, System of A Down will perform in England, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Russia, finally concluding the tour with a concert in Republic Square in Yerevan, Armenia.
The group explained why Turkey was not a stop on the tour with the following words:
“There is a growing social movement in Turkey; and we have many friends there who are struggling for the recognition of the Genocide. We were planning to play Turkey, but we were told we had to receive permission from the government in Turkey. By that point, we did not have enough time to do that.”