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System of a Down’s Serj Tankian shares letter urging Imagine Dragons to cancel Azerbaijan show

Imagine Dragons
ABC/Randy Holmes

System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian has shared a letter that he sent urging Imagine Dragons to cancel their upcoming September 2 show in Azerbaijan.

Tankian has long been vocal and critical of Azerbaijan amid its ongoing military conflict in his ancestral home country of Armenia. In 2020, System of a Down released a pair of new songs to support and raise awareness for Armenia, marking the band’s first new music in 15 years.

“Through representatives, I sent [Imagine Dragons] a kind letter urging them to reconsider playing their show in Azerbaijan as it would help whitewash the dictatorial regime’s image there,” Tankian writes in a Facebook post. “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.”

In his letter to ID, Tankian notes that the “Radioactive” rockers are “active proponents of various human rights issues and social causes,” such as supporting Ukraine amid its war with Russia.

“Since 2020, Azerbaijan has created war against Armenians, killing thousands, displacing tens of thousands and terrorizing countless more via an illegal blockade that has been ordered to be reopened by the [International Court of Justice] and the European Court of Human Rights,” the letter reads.

“I really feel that performing in Azerbaijan would have a negative impact on your brand as well,” Tankian continued. “I’m confident that you can decipher all the facts for yourselves to decide whether to cancel your concert.”

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