System of a Down Takes Genocide Affirmation Center Stage

LOS ANGELES—System of a Down (SOAD) lead singer Serj Tankian challenged a capacity crowd at the band’s July 29 Hollywood Bowl show to imagine a world that had remained silent on the Holocaust, as it has on the Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian genocides.

With Daron Malakian’s soulful riffs of the Armenian ballad “Zepiuri Nman” (Like a Breeze) in the background, Tankian stated, “Imagine if this is the 1940’s, and World War II had just started, and America decided not to enter the war on the side of Britain. Imagine if Americans became allies with Nazi Germany and decided that we’re going to push away the Holocaust, never use the word Holocaust in government policy. Imagine what a life that would be.”

“Imagine being Jewish and living in LA and not hearing your president or your Congress use the word Holocaust,” he continued. “That’s exactly what Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians feel when our government doesn’t use the word genocide.” A video segment of Tankian’s remarks can be viewed below:

Since the very inception of their Grammy Award-winning band, the four members of SOAD have been at the forefront of genocide recognition, working toward a truthful and just resolution of the Armenian Genocide, and all genocides. Their efforts were spotlighted in the documentary “SCREAMERS” about international inaction in the face of the Armenian and Darfur genocides. Tankian and SOAD drummer John Dolmayan traveled to Washington, D.C. in April 2006 for a three-day advocacy campaign urging Congress to speak truthfully about this crime.

In April 2009, Tankian made a short video—viewed over 330,00 times—urging President Obama to honor his campaign pledge to properly commemorate the Armenian Genocide. Successive annual April 24 statements by the president have stopped short of referencing the crime as “genocide.” To view Tankian’s video, visit

A segment of the film “SCREAMERS,” including a performance of SOAD’s powerful anti-denial anthem P.L.U.C.K, can be viewed at

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