Serj Tankian is urging Imagine Dragons to cancel their scheduled show in Azerbaijan due to a “humanitarian catastrophe” being carried out by the country’s regime. After privately reaching out a few months ago, the System of a Down singer is now going public with the letter he sent to the pop-rock band.
Tankian and System of a Down have long spoken out against Azerbaijan, even releasing SOAD’s first new songs in 15 years in 2020 to call attention to the country’s “crimes against humanity.”
In a new Instagram post, Tankian details the reasons he’s asking Imagine Dragons to nix the concert, as well as his frustrations in not getting a response:
“Now it has to be said.
A few months ago, it came to my attention that @imaginedragons had planned a show on Sept 2nd in Baku Azerbaijan. I was sure they were unaware that Azerbaijan’s petro-oligarchic dictatorial regime was starving 120k people in Nagorno-Karabagh which is now being called a Genocide by the former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno Ocampo. So through representatives, I sent them a kind letter urging them to reconsider playing their show in Azerbaijan as it would help whitewash the dictatorial regime’s image there. I included various articles including one by Amnesty Int’l who I was told they have worked with in the past. There was no response. No answer, no response. As the humanitarian crisis worsens in Nagorno-Karabagh with starvation already being recorded I am forced to publicize this letter and their disregard for this humanitarian catastrophe. Maybe they felt they had a legal liability to play the show, maybe they just don’t care. My whole life I have been an advocate for genocide recognition and have always said there has to be a price to pay for Genocidal regimes or deniers. Another genocide is looming by Azerbaijan and while this happens they get to enjoy an American band from LV. Fuck that!
That’s not right.
Go to my profile to sign a petition to the band on change.org if you care to sign and you can see my letter to the band on my Facebook page. Thanks for reading. Serj.”
See Tankian’s Instagram and Facebook posts below. As of this article, Imagine Dragons’ September 2nd concert in Baku, Azerbaijan remains on their tour schedule.