System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian has called out the Imagine Dragons for performing in Azerbaijan.
Tankian is a noted human rights activist and has spoken in support of Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In an Instagram post on August 16, Tankian put the band on blast. He claims he reached out to the band once he learned of their performance in Baku.
“Now it has to be said. A few months ago, it came to my attention that Imagine Dragons had planned a show on September 2 in Baku, Azerbaijan,” the statement begins. “I was sure they were unaware that Azerbaijan’s petro-oligarchic dictatorial regime was starving 120,000 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 International 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 in Azerbaijan and while this happens they get to enjoy an American band from Las Vegas. Fuck that. That’s not right.”
Imagine Dragons is currently on their European and West Asia tour. They’re playing in Tel Aviv, Israel, just four days before the Baku concert. The band has not responded to Tankian’s public request.