Serj Tankian and his fellow Armenian-American rockers in System of a Down have dedicated their current Wake Up the Souls tour toward raising awareness of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and forcing Turkey to take accountability. As an extension of the Toxicity group’s current trek, Tankian and composer John Psathas have teamed up for the somber composition “100 Years,” which juxtaposes Tankian’s harmonizing with images of the atrocities from the genocide that, to this day, the Turkish government refuses to acknowledge.
“This video is dedicated to all those fighting for truth, recognition and justice for the first genocide of the 20th Century and all subsequent genocides,” a note at the beginning of “100 Years” reads (via Loudwire). “In 1915, at the height of World War I, the government of Ottoman Turkey began the systematic eradication of its Christian population within their borders. By the end of the war, over 1.5 million Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians suffered gruesome annihilation through massacre, hunger, rape and deportation at the hands of the Ottoman Turks in what is now called the first genocide of the 20th century.”
The Armenian genocide has long been a subject of System of a Down’s music, and Tankian recently spoke to Rolling Stone about why it was vital for the band to tour on the massacre’s 100th anniversary. “I think for us it’s important for Turkey to know its own history in a truthful manner. It’s not just about the genocide of the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians, but what’s going on now,” Tankian said. “There are no executable international agreements that have to do with stopping the genocide. Irrespective of a number of great U.N. bodies and even U.S.-based bodies in terms of genocide prevention, there’s no binding resolution on any genocide or holocaust occurring. We still see them happening.”
On April 23rd, System of the Down will play their first ever concert in Armenia when they perform a free gig at the capital city of Yerevan’s Republic Park. “In Armenia, our status is unparalleled. I don’t want to use any monikers like the Beatles or anything, but it’s a unique kind of thing,” Tankian told Rolling Stone. “So we want to go there and play for the people, which we’ve never done as System of a Down. It’s quite exciting.”