Serj Tankian is best known as the frontman of alternative metal/hard rock band System of a Down with whom he has been playing with since 1994. The band's relationship to the Armenian Genocide is a rather direct one: they're all Armenian-Americans and themselves descendants of survivors of the Genocide. Tankian himself has already distinguished himself as a passionate activist for a variety of causes, from criticizing the US prison system to environmental issues.
Needless to say, the struggle for the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide is particularly important to him. As he recently told Rolling Stones magazine, speaking of justice:
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. 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. I read in today's press that they discovered a mass grave in Deir Ezzor in Syria of ISIS massacres of this one tribe there, and it reminded me of all the bones that are under those sands in Deir Ezzor from the first genocide of the 20th century in the exact same place. If that's not symbolism, I don't know what is.
Global Voices was at the latest System of a Down concert, part of the band's “Wake Up The Souls” tour in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. The band gave a free concert on April 23 (the night before the Official Centenary) in Yerevan's Republic Square which was attended by thousands of Armenians, as well as Georgians, Iranians, Ukrainians, among others.
But if metal isn't your thing, don't despair. Tankian is a prolific artist. His video ‘100 years’ features Duduk (Armenian flute), Daouli (regional drum), Lyra (regional stringed bowed instrument) and Kanun (regional string instrument) musicians as well as guitar, piano and violin with him on vocals. This beautiful performance echoes the heavy history suffered by Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians.
As its description states: “the video is a somber commemoration to honor the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian victims of the first genocide of the 20th century.”