Thursday, April 2, 2015

SYSTEM OF A DOWN-Tankian, Dolmayan Hold Press Conference on Genocide Centennial

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Join Akcam, Schiff, and Hamparian in Call for Justice

“Genocide is a disease that continues until today,” System of a Down’s Serj Tankian told reporters on April 1. “As Armenian-Americans and as band members who have had family members perish in this horrible tragedy, it’s important for us not just to raise awareness, but to help bring justice to this cause.”
Tankian and bandmate John Dolmayan joined Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Turkish historian Taner Akçam, and Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), Aram Hamparian in a telephone press call.  The five discussed the upcoming centennial anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and efforts to push the Obama Administration and the Turkish government to recognize the genocide.
System of a down will embark on an international tour called Wake up the Souls, in commemoration of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide.
System of a down will embark on an international tour called Wake up the Souls, in commemoration of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide.
System of a down will embark on an international tour called Wake up the Souls, in commemoration of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide. “For years, we had done a number of shows in Los Angeles called Souls that brought attention to the Armenian Genocide, and gathered funds for the cause. Being that this is the 100-year commemoration of the genocide, we decided to make Souls into a tour,” said Tankian.
Tankian and Dolmayan provided details about their April 23 show in Yerevan, which will be the last stop for the tour. The show will be the first time the band will be playing in Armenia. “It is a big honor for us to be doing our first show there at the 100th year commemoration of the genocide,” said Tankian.

Akcam: Wrong to pin national interests against morality
Akcam commented on the importance of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the U.S., stressing that instead of backing a denialist government in Turkey, the American government should instead support the “expanding and maturing” Turkish civil society that is ready to face its own history.
“To put national interests against morality is plain wrong,” said Akçam, adding that attitudes in Turkey are slowly changing. “I first started working on the Armenian Genocide in 1990. Since then, Turkey has changed and is continuing to change, especially after the assassination of Hrant Dink in Istanbul. People began commemorating the Armenian Genocide in Turkey,” said Akçam. He also noted that he expects hundreds of diasporan Armenians to join the ever-growing number of Turkish citizens who bravely hold demonstrations in Turkey on April 24.

Hamparian: Real peace is built on justice
“Turkey not only denies the truth of the crime, but also obstructs its justice,” said Hamparian, who provided details about ANCA’s March to Justice campaign.
“We want to see real peace between Turks and Armenians,” he said, adding that peace must be built on a foundation of truth and justice. Hamparian explained that the March to Justice is an interactive global online platform for the growth of sustained grassroots engagement in support of justice for the Armenian Genocide and durable security for the Armenian nation. Hamparian also explained how the ANCA has been pushing President Barack Obama to honor his 2008 pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide, and working hard with congress to end Turkey’s gag rule.

Schiff: We have moral obligation to speak the truth
“With only a handful of survivors left, we feel a moral obligation to speak the truth about the genocide and ensure it is never forgotten,” said Schiff, who also announced that on April 22nd, for an entire hour on the House Floor, he will read names of Armenian Genocide victims.
“In a single hour, I will only be able to read the names of a mere fraction of those who were killed,” said Schiff, adding that “to read all of the names of the more than 1.5 million people murdered at the time, would take many weeks and weeks.” Schiff said that he hoped that the recitation of victims’ names will help call attention to the magnitude of the crime. He also urged those who lost family and loved ones during the genocide to send their names, all of which will be entered into the Congressional Record.
Schiff also provided details about the Armenian Genocide Truth and Justice Resolution, which was introduced on March 18 by Representatives Schiff, Robert Dold (R-Ill.), David Valadao (R-Calif.), and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), along with 40 other members of the House of Representatives. The bipartisan resolution calls upon the president to work toward equitable, constructive, and durable Armenian-Turkish relations based upon the Republic of Turkey’s full acknowledgement of the facts and ongoing consequences of the Armenian Genocide.

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