The world-famous rock band System of a Down has announced that it will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide with a series of concerts. The tour titled ‘Wake up the Souls’ begins on April 10 with a concert at Wembley Arena in London.
The world-famous rock band System of a Down has announced that it will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide with a series of concerts. The tour titled ‘Wake up the Souls’ begins on April 10 with a concert at Wembley Arena in London. Following shows in Cologne, Lyon, Brussels, Amsterdam and Moscow, the band will finalize their tour with a show on April 23 at Republic Square in Yerevan. This will also be the first time the band takes stage in Yerevan. We spoke to the lead vocalist of the band Serj Tankian about the details of the tour, and his feelings and expectations regarding 2015. Tankian says, “We aim to help bring awareness and direct people to action in trying to attain justice for the Genocide”.
First concert in Yerevan
Tankian explains that they have been asked many times over the years to play in Armenia but that somehow it never materialized: “I myself have played in Armenia before, but it will be a first for System Of A Down. All members of System Of A Down have lost family members to the Genocide. We thought it would be a great idea to play in Yerevan for the 100th year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. As Armenians who have toured a good part of the world, it is something we have always wanted to do.”
No concert in Istanbul as of yet
Tankian also explains why Turkey is not part of the tour: “We tried to setup a show in Istanbul as well for part of our tour. But the process of getting the government's cooperation took long with the incoming new Prime Minister so we had to forgo the show to complete our tour routing.” When we asked if the process progresses and they receive an invitation whether they would come to Turkey, Tankian said it was too late now for this tour, and that it was too soon to say something about the future.
Call for Justice
The 'Wake Up the Souls' tour was named after the band’s numerous Los Angeles 'Souls' shows over the years for the same cause. Tankian says: “Our aim is to help bring awareness and direct people to action in trying to attain justice for the first genocide of the 20th century of Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians perpetrated by the Ittihadis during the first World War.”
The group have announced the ‘Wake Up the Souls’ tour via social media, and visitors to the band’s web site will be able to view a heat map of data regarding recognition of the Genocide around the world, and be given a chance to take action in helping to bring justice. Tankian states, “Recognition is only the first step towards this justice. As I have explained in the band's video, admitting to a crime is not paying for a crime.”
‘We are tired of denialist policies’
Finally, Tankian explained his feelings and expectations regarding 2015 with the following words: “Many Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Turks and all other people around the world who respect history and human rights are tired of waiting for the government of Turkey to confess to the crimes of its Ottoman predecessors, tired of convincing other governments like that of the U.S. to pressure Turkey to drop its ill-conceived, amoral, denialist policies. There are many people of conscience in Turkey who have put their lives on the line to fight for the truth in this case, including your former editor Hrant Dink. The time for truth has come. There is no running away from it.”