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#1 BenPan10

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 02:09 PM

Focussing On The 1915 Armenian Genocide And With Reference To American Politics, How Has Serj Tankian's Music, Poetry And Life Been Affected?


Last year at college, I was give the opportunity to undertake an extended project, a 5000 wor essay on a subject of my choosing. Unlike other students, I didn't chose my subject because it would be well recieved and would get me a high grade, but instead chose a subject I was massively interested in. I chose Serj Tankian, my favourite artist, and wrote an essay on how his music and poetry has been affected. Although I would have loved the opportunity to pick apart more of Serj's works, I had a maximum of 5000 words, so chose three System Of A Down songs, one solo song and one poem. These views and ideas are my own and I would love any feed back on them. Thankyou for taking time to read this and I hope you enjoy.


Ben Cooper






Introduction

For my extended project I will analyse Serj Tankian's works, focussing on his political influences to answer my question, focussing on the 1915 Armenian Genocide and with reference to American politics, how has Serj Tankian's music, poetry and life been affected? To answer my question I have set myself two aims; to investigate how the Armenian Genocide has had an impact on Serj Tankian's music, poetry and life, and to investigate how American politics has affected Serj Tankian's music, poetry and life. Throughout my essay I will be analysing various works from Serj's career to show that he has been greatly influenced by politics, not just within music and poetry he has produced, but also with his activism and the organisations he has worked within.



Serj Tankian is most recognised as the voice of the band, System Of A Down, who on 28th May 1995 performed their debut show at The Roxy on Sunset Strip, California, giving music a completely new direction. Born on 21st April 1967 in Beirut, Lebanon, Serj, along with his fellow band members is of Armenian heritage and an indirect result of the Armenian genocide, as it was only due to relocation during the massacre that his grandparents met. When he was just eight years old, civil war broke out in Beirut over disagreements due to the influx of Palestinian refugees and so in 1975 the Tankians relocated once again. This time it was to Los Angeles.

Serj attended The Rose & Alex Pilibos School, a private school for Armenian-Americans and at a young age showed an intellect and thirst for knowledge not often seen in lead vocalists of metal bands. Even though he was a good student, with a 4.0 GPA throughout most of school, and later college, he was a non-conformist. As a teenager, Serj joined the Armenian Youth Federation (A.Y.F.), part of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (A.R.F), whose aim was to preserve Armenian identity in the face of change, a cause close to Serj's heart.

Throughout his career Tankian's political views have always been evident and to obtain an overview of his whole life rather than just of a specific time period, I will be reviewing System Of A Down songs, songs from Serj's solo career and poetry, accumulated over time from his first collection Cool Gardens.



As my question states, I will be reviewing Serj's works and the influences the Armenian genocide and American politics have had on them. The Armenian genocide started on 24th April 1915 when 235 leading members of the Armenian community in Istanbul were arrested without reason, and ended with the death of an estimated one and a half million by means of execution, forced march and starvation. Carried out by the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey)'s government at the time, The Committee of Union and Progress (C.U.P), the 1915 genocide was an attempt to rid the population of all non-Muslims, using the ideology of Pan-Islam.

Before the genocide and even before the C.U.P. took power the Dhimmî–people living under Muslim sovereignty, including Armenians, Greeks and Jews, were treated as lesser citizens. Among other restrictions they had to wear distinguishable clothing that set them apart from the majority population, a practice used in the Jewish holocaust during World War Two. Near the fall of the Ottoman Empire most of the Greek population had relocated, and the remaining minorities were fighting for reform with the help of the world's great powers. Over the years leading up to the genocide the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, also knows as the Dashnaks, managed to achieve some reformation. But for every effort they made there was a counter-reaction by the Muslim population, and in response to their attempts, large amounts of innocent Armenians were murdered.

By the 1890's the killings had taken on different characteristics and no longer did they seem to be a reaction to the reforms. In response to this change Armenians committed crimes to goat an even more violent reaction out of the Turks, with the hope of help from foreign nations. Despite Russia, among other great powers sending troops to defend them, by 1915 the entire Armenian nation was "living with the dread of a general massacre"1. The Ottoman Empire entered the First World War on 11th November 1914, and it is no surprise that less than five months later, the killing of Armenian citizens began. It seems obvious that a guise to cover up their planned genocide was one of Anatolia's main priorities, and so among other reasons, a good enough one to enter the war.

To this day, despite 21 countries; including 12 N.A.T.O. allies, and 41 U.S. states, acknowledging the massacre of one and a half million Armenians as genocide, Turkey, Great Britain and the United States of America still deny that what happened constitutes genocide. This denial of what took place 96 years ago could very well be the reason for genocides since, as ignoring a tragedy of the past only makes it more likely that another will occur. To quote Adolf Hitler while he was persuading his generals that a Jewish holocaust would be tolerated by the west, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"2.



In addition to the Armenian genocide, I will review Serj Tankian's music and poetry with reference to relevant American politics from the 1990's onwards. Since System Of A Down's formation in 1995 a lot has happened in world politics, and America has been at the forefront of most of it. Although one the of the biggest events of the last two decades is the war in Iraq, there are many more political issues that the U.S. has been involved in, and so many more that System have been influenced by.

America has had three presidents since 1995; Bill Clinton, George W Bush Jr and the current president, Barack Obama. In 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait, and the president at the time, Bush, was quick to react. Although he claimed that his reaction was due to humanitarian reasons, the fact that the Clinton Administration stood aside while Saddam Hussein murdered his own citizens only a few years earlier makes that hard to believe. One of Iraq's reasons for the invasion of Kuwait was to seize their oil reserves, as after the Iran-Iraq War, they had suffered economically. This was clearly the underlying factor for America's reaction, and later, invasion of Iraq. The war in Iraq, as well as the reactions from terrorist organisation, Al Queida are both major issues within Serj Tankian's lyrics.

In addition to these issues, two genocides have taken place in the last two decades, the Darfur Genocide and the Rwandan Genocide, the latter taking place in 1994. Lasting 100 days, with the death of 800,000 people, it was due to the segregation of the countries two major groups; the Tutsi and the Hutu. The genocide began on 6th April when President Juvēnal Habyarimana's plane was shot down by Hutu extremists, and although the president was Hutu, his decision to allow Tutsi to participate in government roles upset many people. The massacres ended in mid-July when The Rwandan Patriotic Front, a Hutu extremist party, took control of the country.



To answer my question, I will be reviewing songs that reflect the breadth of Serj's career. Therefore I will review three System Of A Down songs; "P.L.U.C.K.", "B.Y.O.B." and "Holy Mountains", "Reconstructive Demonstrations" from Serj's second solo album and the poem, "Tars" taken from his collection, Cool Gardens. All of the pieces I have chosen to review have political undertones, but in one way or another, everything Serj has done has been influenced by politics, from System Of A Down song, "Cigaro", to poem "Metaphor?" which when first looked at both seem like art for the sake of art.




Review

System Of A Down



Since forming in 1995, System Of A Down have had a massive impact on not only music but also on politics. They have released five studio albums to date and although "when read in isolation a lot of the band's lyrics are troublesome and (occasionally) cringeworthy"3, when a whole song is looked at, political undertones are easily noticed. When the band formed, anti-Americanism was on a par with treason in the States and "there was little room left for both discourse and commercial success"4. System Of A Down never sold out though and throughout their career, their political lyrics have been one of the bands most prominent features.

System's catalogue of songs has been influenced by consumerism, capitalism, war and the Armenian genocide among other political influences. The songs I have chosen to review are "P.L.U.C.K." from System Of A Down, "B.Y.O.B" from Mezmerize and "Holy Mountains" taken off their final album so far, Hypnotize.





"P.L.U.C.K."



"P.L.U.C.K.", the final track from System Of A Down's self titled debut album is definitely one of the bands most emotive songs. An acronym for Politically Lying, Unholy, Cowardly Killers, it is a direct response to the Armenian genocide and a direct attack at those who perpetrated it and who to this day still deny it. Sounding a lot like the word "Fuck", it cannot be read politely– instead having to be the read with the passion intended.

The song starts with the quiet chanting of "Elimination, Elimination, Elimination"5 before Serj screams "Die, Why, Walk Down, Walk Down"6. The first line refers to the elimination of the Armenian race and is produced to sound like the orders of the C.U.P., sang quietly because they knew that what they were doing was a crime against humanity. The second line though, is lyrically as if the authorities given the job of carrying out the killings are commanding the Armenians to die. When questioned as to why they should though, those in control not knowing what to do once again order them to walk down to their death.

The lyrics "A whole race genocide, Taken away all of our pride"7 states the fact that a genocide took place and no matter what the Turkish government may do to try and cover up what happened, it still happened. The second part refers to the Armenian heritage being taken away from them by the Turks, who during the genocide claimed the houses of those that relocated. In addition to taking the intellectuals and "anyone that could've made the genocide harder to commit"8 they claimed land belonging to Armenia, including Mount Ararat, thus taking away the Armenian's pride. Despite taking so much from the Armenians though, the Turks have not been able to take away what the term genocide means to them, and it stays "sacred to Armenians, taboo to Turks"9.

"Revolution, the only solution"10 refers to work of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, and non-conformist organisations being the only way to get any change with the recognition of the genocide. This is because both America and Britain, among other countries still choose not to acknowledge the first genocide of the twentieth genocide for what it is, as to quote Serj, "most countries find it unprofitable to help genocide victims"11. "Firms hired by Turkey at a rate of $300,000 per month have all lobbied congressman effectively for the removal of the Genocide Bill"12. This does nothing but justify many people's view of America– that when there is a promise of money, land or oil, humanitarian issues and promises made are ignored. Serj has done much for this cause, having belonged to the A.R.F. youth division, performing at protests for the recognition of the genocide and raising awareness of the issues through his music, reaching an audience that the A.R.F. "would never be able to get to"13.

The line "Took all the children and then we died"14 refers to the deportation of the Armenian children during the genocide, as great amounts of them were taken from their families and put in orphanages, with vast numbers being forcibly converted to Islam, and the families being murdered or marched to their deaths.

And finally, "We've taken all your shit, now it's time for restitution. Recognition, Restoration, Reparation"15. This is a plea to the current Turkish government for recognition of the genocide, restoration of their homeland, Armenia, to its former glory and the reparation for the injustice that the Armenians suffered. In general, it is a request by an Armenian, for the Armenian population, to end the lies that have now lasted almost 100 years.





"B.Y.O.B"



As with P.L.U.C.K., B.Y.O.B. is an acronym–this time, it is a play on the saying Bring Your Own Beer, instead standing for Bring Your Own Bombs. One of System Of A Down's most well know songs, the second track from their first of two 2005 releases, Mezmerize, addresses the true motives of the U.S. government involving the war in Iraq.

The song starts "Why do they always send the poor?"16, which when looked at with "Why don't presidents fight the war?"17 gives a strong idea about the motive of the song. Both questions are repeated throughout and are clearly rhetorical, the latter of the two referring to why presidents don't stop the wars, not why they don't participate in the fighting themselves. The first though, when coupled with "Victorious victories kneels. For brand new spankin' deals" can be answered. It is in reference to the idea that by recruiting youths into the army, they can reduce education costs, almost making it seem like the lives of their soldiers are not of importance.

This song implies that the U.S. government's love of money and oil is one of it's top priorities. Feeding their soldiers "lies from the tablecloth"18 is in reference to the U.S.'s hidden reasons for the war. Claiming that the invasion was due to the threat of nuclear weapons and the safety of Iraqi people, when really oil was the top priority. As a generalisation, the soldiers fighting in the army are the less educated members of society, and so believe the orders when told they are fighting a war on terrorism in a nation led by a ruthless dictator, rather than seeing through to the truth. According to Serj thought, if someone has heard bombs dropping in a city, then they "will have a different sensitivity to dropping bombs on a city"19, so before engaging in warfare, the soldiers should take time to consider the real outcome of their actions, rather than the outcomes the government tells them will occur.

The lines "Everybody's going to the party, have a real good time"20 followed by "Dancing in the desert blowing up the sunshine"21 were based on an advert that System Of A Down guitarist and vocalist, Daron Malkian saw on television promoting a career in the army. On the advert a soldier's life was made to seem much more glamorous than in reality; going all over the world and seeing sights, instead of fighting in wars for dominance rather that to help those in need. The T.V. nation that believes this propaganda is also likely to watch the news reporters, such as Barbara Walters showing the bright side of war and believe that all of what is said is true. This is what is meant by "Barbarisms by Barbaras"22. Also, the notion of blowing up the sunshine is a violent one, and refers to the American army blowing up any goodness in the lives of those they wage war against, and any chance of freedom they have.

Finally, linking in with this, the line "Hangers sitting dripped in oil. Crying freedom"23 when looked at with "And we don't live in a fascist nation"24 represents the stance of the common Iraqi, crying for freedom from Saddam Hussein's rule, only to have a government backed by the U.S., the worlds largest capitalist nation, imposed on them. Escaping from a dictatorship, only to have a nation not even aware that they are living within a fascist nation in control.





"Holy Mountains"



As with P.L.U.C.K., Holy Mountains is a song written to address the Armenian genocide, but unlike the song of System Of A Down's first album, this song, taken from the second part of their 2005 double release, takes on a stance to address not only the Turkish position on the 1915 massacre, but also the position of world powers involved.

The song is named after Mount Ararat, the fabled mountain that Noah's arc came to rest on in the bible. Although it has been part of Turkey since 1915 it is historically part of Armenia and the country's people have been trying to get it declared as such for some time. The title of the song, and the mention of the "holy mountains"25 throughout, when added to the line "Back to the river Aras"26; which refers to the river flowing from east Turkey along the borders of north-west Iran, Armenia and Kura, is meant as a call to the Turkish government to give the Armenians back the heritage that has been taken away from them since the genocide. This is because "Wherever your ancestry comes from, wherever you come from, is a part of your history, part of your story"27.

The lines "Liar, Killer, Demon"28 and "We have learned that you have no Honour, Murderer, Sodomizer"29 is a direct attack at both the past and current Turkish government, in addition to the great powers of the world. In a report dated 30th June 1915, Talât Paşa, the minister of the interior, to governor general in the province of Diyarbakir, Anatolia, is quoted as saying "What we are dealing with here…is the annihilation of the Armenians"30. This clearly shows the true intent of the Ottoman Empire's government at the time, and the fact that the deaths of Armenians that occurred were intended, not the result of the conditions of war, as they claimed. The line "Someone's blank star deemed it warfare"31 states this clearly. In addition to the government's denials in the face of the truth and the changing of the alphabet from Arabic to Latin letters in 1928, Turkey spends "millions of dollars each year, hiring expensive lobbying firms, [and] creating university chairs to sponsor genocide deniers"32, as well as imprisoning anyone who speaks out about the occurrence of the genocide. These attempts do nothing but solidify that the genocide did take place, but they are not the only ones at fault, as "the West has contributed to this bullshit"33.

This song is not aimed solely at the Turkish government, but also any other nation involved, because "genocide remains a political issue, bartered like a commodity by the great powers"34. When the news of the mass killing of Armenians reached Europe, Britain, France and Russia issued a joint declaration that they would "hold personally responsible [for] these crimes all members of Ottoman government…implicated in such massacres"35. When there was an offer of land though, France and Italy; who originally agreed with their allies' stance, both abandoned their attempts to punish the Turkish war criminals, and by 1920, no countries included the punishment in their aims.

The "Liar"36 in the song refers to the governments that gave up their attempts of retribution for the Armenians, in particular those that have yet to acknowledge what happened as genocide. These include Britain and America; despite George W Bush saying that the "annihilation of as many as 1.5 million Armenians through forced exile and murder…remains a source of pain"37 on the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day 2004. Although during the Cold War, there was need for airbases and soldiers in Turkey when the threat of communism was imminent, that is no longer true. As such, there is no need to continue denying the tragedy that happened 96 years ago. Despite the government's denials though, System have got into "the minds of some of the younger generation, and hopefully in time, something'll happen because of that"38. I hope that by 2015, 100 year after the genocide took place, it is finally recognised because there is no reason why any genocide should be deemed less than another. All are disasters and all should be acknowledged.





Serj Tankian (solo)



After System Of A Down went on hiatus in 2006, Serj started work on his solo work. So far, he has released two albums, and in both, he has experimented with music as much as, if not more than, in System, with rock, metal, electro, jazz and even orchestral influences.

Where as one of System's major political influences is the Armenian genocide, this is something Serj has focussed on less in his solo work, instead concentrating more on war, terrorism and issues of the environment and civilisation. The song that I have chosen to review was "Reconstructive Demonstrations" his second album, Imperfect Harmonies.





"Reconstructive Demonstrations"



"Reconstructive Demonstrations", follows the trend of Imperfect Harmonies and like most of the songs on the album, is about the environmental problems that the world faces and the question of whether civilisation is the best answer for mankind or whether we would be better going back to our roots and nomadic ways, when pollution and overpopulation were less of a problem.

The title of this song refers to the need for something to be done to stop the world's impending destruction, a destruction that has been set in motion by the "accelerated rate of decrease in natural resources compounded by our increasing overpopulation"39. The mentioning of "Unconventional deconstructive demonstrations"40 and "Conversational reconstructive demonstrations"41 is about the two different stances of the worlds fate. The first is that of the world's governments, who exploit the environment and the later is Serj's view; that people should stand up for the planet they inhabit, because as he puts it, "It's scientifically unsustainable for us to be on this planet and live this lifestyle"42. By this, he doesn't mean that mankind's future is unsustainable–just our species' excessive use of resources and the overpopulation that our planet is experiencing. In this song Serj is advocating sustainable development.

"(Teach us how to speak) Why, confess the final blow"43 signifies the American government, among others, who systematically destroy the Earth and it's resources without thinking about the consequences until one of two things occur. Firstly someone questions their political stance on the issues, after which they stand up and say whatever the population wants to hear, with no plan to further their supposed view. The latter thing to occur is when civilisation passes the point of salvation, a situation we are vastly approaching. This can also be linked towards the government's attitude on genocide, not namely the Armenian, but the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, where "the bush administration seemed to believe that if they called it genocide, that that was doing something"44. It is not enough for our leaders to simply acknowledge the problems that the world faces today–they need to do something about them so that the world does not pass the point of being saved.

The mentioning of how "No one seems to understand that We are falling to our knees"45 is in reference to the fact that not only is the U.S. government, among others, blind of what is happening, but so too is most of humanity. In the past 100 years population has grown massively, which has thus affected the accelerated use of natural resources, and the rate of pollution. In addition the evidence of this shows a correlation with the growing lists of species that are becoming endangered and extinct

Finally, the last three lines of the song, "Blindness serves not God nor man So we are falling into disease Disease"46 imply that not seeing, or refusing to see, the problems in the world helps nothing. Trying to continue living in a failing world can only work for so long, and if something is not done soon then civilisation will fail us. The mention of disease signifies that not the planet, but we, the human race is what's falling into disease. We are a parasite leaching off and killing the world and "what are we doing about it? We're just making plans to slow down it's death"47. In other words, as Serj puts it, "We're just ants–pesky little fuckers"48. Although some of the problems the world faces are down to nature, a growing number are down to mankind. Like ants, able to survive almost anything, while we destroy our planet and the species that inhabit it, we live comfortably while ignoring the dangers that pose a threat to our lives–not a lack of power, money or oil, but a lack of food.





Poetry



From a young age Serj Tankian started writing poetry, and ever since, he has continued to do so to get his word across through a different medium than music. Even though he has only had one collection published so far, he has written as much, in the way of poetry and he has of songs.

Serj's poems have many political influences ranging from man's inhumanity towards other men and the environment, to the ego greed of the worlds supposed great powers, and as with his lyrics, his sense of humour can be seen throughout. The piece I decided to review from Cool Gardens was "Tars", a poem which exemplifies Serj's distain for the U.S. government.





"Tars"



"Tars" is an attack on the American government and the viscous mess of problems within it, that swallow up anyone one who attempts to eradicate them from society, and continue as if nothing has been attempted. One of the most political poems in the collection, it is combination of all that Serj feels is wrong within the American political system.

The first line "To ban the band from the balcony"49 refers to the censorship that the media is put through. Even in a system, where there is freedom of speech and freedom of opinion, there is still oppression in the sense that the government has the final say. This stops certain music from reaching an audience and means that their opinions are not always acknowledged–luckily this was not the case with System Of A Down. An example of this oppression was after the destruction on 9th September 2001, when all songs relating to airplanes, flying and the such were banned from American radio.

Serj talks about how the "institutions institutionalise the lies"50, meaning that companies' lies are being spread to the population due to their funding of elections and governmental proposals. They do this while leaving the truths of the reason for their input and the truths about the state of the world "sitting on the side"51. What is meant by this is that, as has happened for many years in the American political system, powerful industry bosses have had a major impact on whom is the chosen candidate running against the current president.

The people that the lies are being aimed at are the "so-called non-intellectuals"52, those who have not attended an institute of further education, not always through incapability, but a lot of the time because they have sought other ways to learn, other than by means of indoctrination through corporate education.

Serj writes of how the bosses in industry have caused "More death and destruction than the Great Flood"53, referring to the flood of the bible and the fact that in the last 1000 years mankind has caused more destruction to the planet, and deaths of it's population than nature, and even God have throughout the history of it's existence. He refers to the industry leaders as the "most feared gods"54, because of this fact, as they "loot the world's resources"55 for their own personal gain. This does nothing but justify the view that "things are happening based on profit, not principles"56.

Serj says of how America is sick of being "Raped, and incarcerated by your unjust laws"57, in reference to the American judicial system in place; where three counts of the most minor crimes, such as carrying an ounce of marijuana, can result in the same sentencing as for someone incarcerated for premeditated murder. Another main problem with this system is that drug use and drug addiction are thought to be one and the same, when although both are illegal, the latter of the two is something that needs to be dealt with outside of courts and prison systems. Serj believes that the government is part of the blame for the drug problems the nation faces. Use accelerated in the 1960's when the Vietnam War was ongoing and police were violently reacting to revolutionaries and protestors; Black Panthers' officers among others. America needed change and when it did not seem to be taking place, the protestors and people subjected to the governments hatred "needed something like drugs to make [them]…numb"58.

Even though America and the leaders in industry think that due to the capitalist tendencies of the United States they can pay for everything they want, the citizens of the country they are trying to buy out is "sick of being fucked by the landlord"59 and is starting to do something about the problems. More people are starting to protest and stand up for what they believe in and a change is starting to happen–although only very slowly, America is actually becoming the democracy it claims to be.

Conclusion

My question was, focussing on the 1915 Armenian Genocide and with reference to American politics, how has Serj Tankian's music, poetry and life been affected? Throughout my essay I have reviewed Tankian's works, analysing them to decide whether politics had an impact, and in particular whether they have affected Serj's life and what he has done outside of music and poetry.

Serj Tankian's music and poetry has clearly been influenced by politics ranging from the Armenian genocide, through the question of America's democratic status, to his views on the state of the environment. Although some may claim that his works, mainly within System Of A Down, are nothing but noise and the ramblings of a drug infused musician, this is clearly not the case. Each of my chosen songs and poems show that Serj cares about the issues of the world, and unlike some artists that use politics sparsely, he has never been afraid to tell his point of view, even when he disagrees with the norm.

Not only has his music and poetry been influenced though, but so to has his life. In addition to being a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, within which he protests for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, he co-founded Axis Of Justice, bringing musicians, fans of music and grassroots political organisations together. This was done to encourage those who normally ignore politics and world issues to become active and fight for what they believe in. Serj has done much for the causes close to his heart, and despite attempts to stop him expressing his views he continues to do so. One example of this was after 911 when he wrote an essay on how the terrorist attack was in result to America's invasion of Iraq, and how the decision to go to war in Iraq was decided upon because of the countries thirst for oil. Despite very negative responses, to this day Serj continues to put his political views forward.

"Today, more people have learned about the Armenian genocide though System Of A Down than every other effort"60, a view expressed not only by Arman Hamparian, of the Armenian National Committee, but also by Vardan Oskanyan, Armenia's foreign minister who called System Of A Down "the true ambassadors of Armenia"61.



For an overview of the Armenian Genocide, with reference to System Of A Down, I recommend Screamers; a D.V.D. about the denial of the first genocide of the Twentieth Century, and for the decisive account, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility; the only account to date on the Armenian genocide, that does not deny what happened.

In addition to learning about the Armenian Genocide I have planed assemblies at my school to raise awareness, as is done on Holocaust Memorial Day. In addition to my assembly, I will be carrying out a petition for the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Bill to once again be raised in parliament, and hopefully this time, it will get past the first reading. I agree with Serj that political issues should be openly discussed and that denial of such tragedies as the 1915 Genocide is an outrage. To finish with a quote of his own "I think it's important, I think we should all be Screamers"62.

References

1. System Of A Down: Right Here In Hollywood, Ben Myers, Published 2006 by Independent Music Press, page 159

2. www.negative99.com/general/armenian-genocide-rememberance-day, Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day (updated) >>Negative 99, 4th March 2011

3. System Of A Down: Right Here In Hollywood, page 76

4. Ibid, page 89

5. P.L.U.C.K., System Of A Down, System Of A Down, Produced 1998 by The American Recording Company, line 1

6. Ibid, line 2

7. Ibid, lines 3, 4

8. Screamers, Carla Garcepedian, Produced 2008 by Sony B.M.G. Music Entertainment, 42.30

9. A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility, Taner Akçam, First published by I.M.G.E. Kitabevi, Published 2007 by Constable, page xviii

10. P.L.U.C.K., line 9

11. Maximum System Of A Down: The Unauthorised Biography of System Of A Down, produced 2001 by Chrome Dream, track 10, 0.10

12. www.board.sertankian.com/index.php?showtopic=711, Serj Tankian F A Q – Serj Tankian Discussion Board, 14th December 2010

13. Screamers, 7.51

14. P.L.U.C.K., line 20

15. Ibid, lines 10, 11

16. B.Y.O.B., Mezmerize, System Of A Down, Produced 2005 by Sony B.M.G. Music Entertainment/ "Columbia", line 1

17. Ibid, line 34

18. Ibid, line 9

19. System Of A Down: Right Here In Hollywood, page 13

20. B.Y.O.B., line 10

21. Ibid, line 11

22. Ibid, line 2

23. Ibid, line 16

24. Ibid, line 28

25. Holy Mountains, Hypnotize, System Of A Down, Produced 2005 by Sony B.M.G. Entertainment, line 9

26. Ibid, line 11

27. Screamers, 1.28.56

28. Holy Mountains, line 3

29. Ibid, lines 21, 22

30. A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility, page xv

31. Holy Mountains, line 5

32. www.board.sertankian.com/index.php?showtopic=711, Serj Tankian F A Q – Serj Tankian Discussion Board, 14th December 2010

33. System Of A Down: Right Here In Hollywood, page 88

34. www.board.sertankian.com/index.php?showtopic=711, Serj Tankian F A Q – Serj Tankian Discussion Board, 14th December 2010

35. A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility, page x

36. Holy Mountains, line 3

37. www.negative99.com/general/armenian-genocide-rememberance-day, Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day (updated) >>Negative 99, 4th March 2011

38. Screamers, 1.00.32

39. www.revolvermag.com/magazine/article/hard-rock-the-vote, HARD ROCK THE VOTE – Revolver Magazine, 11th January 2011, taken from the May 2008 issue

40. Reconstructive Demonstrations, Imperfect Harmonies, Serj Tankian, produced 2010 by Serj Tankian, licensed exclusively to Reprise Records, line 3

41. Ibid, line 6

42. www.revolvermag.com/magazine/article/hard-rock-the-vote, HARD ROCK THE VOTE – Revolver Magazine, 11th January 2011, taken from the May 2008 issue

43. Reconstructive Demonstrations, lines 7, 8

44. Screamers, 1.24.55

45. Reconstructive Demonstrations, lines 12, 13

46. Ibid, lines 31, 32, 33

47. www.board.serjtankian.com/index.php?showtopic=711, Serj Tankian F A Q – Serj Tankian Discussion Board, 14th December 2010

48. www.soadomized.com/images/visuals/displayimage.php?album=227&pos=2, SOADomized.com Photo Gallery – Revolver September 2010/ih scan 04, 15th December 2010

49. Tars, Cool Gardens, Serj Tankian, published 2001 by MTV Books/ Pocket Books, page 31, line 1

50. Ibid, page 31, line 15

51. Ibid, page 31, line 16

52. Ibid, page 31, line 14

53. Ibid, page 32, line 32

54. Ibid, page 32, line 29

55. Ibid, page 32, line 34

56. Screamers, 1.22.44

57. Tars, page 31, line 23

58. System Of A Down: Right Here In Hollywood, page 128

59. Tars, page 31, line 11

60. Screamers, 13.56

61. System Of A Down: Right Here In Hollywood, page 189

62. Screamers, 1.32.49





In addition to the references above, I used various books, magazines and websites. One's that I found particularly helpful were A History of the Twentieth Century Volume Three: 1952-1999 by Martin Gilbert, Crimes Against Liberty: An indictment of President Barack Obama by David Limbough, The Armenian Revolutionary Movement: the development of Armenian political parties through the Nineteenth century by Louise Nalbandian, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Revolver, www.armenian-genocide.org, http://news.bbc.co.uk, www.genocide1915.info, www.timesonline.co.uk and http://www.lyricinte...stem-of-a-Down.

Appendices







Lyrics



"P.L.U.C.K.", System Of A Down, System Of A Down









Elimination, Elimination, Elimination

Die, Why, Walk Down, Walk Down,

A whole race genocide,

Taken away all of our pride,

A whole race genocide,

Taken away. Watch them all fall down.

Revolution, the only solution,

The armed response of an entire nation,

Revolution, the only solution,

We've taken all your shit, now it's time for restitution.

Recognition, Restoration, Reparation,

Recognition, Restoration, Reparation,

Watch them all fall down.

Revolution, the only solution,

The armed response of an entire nation,

Revolution, the only solution,

We've taken all your shit, now it's time for restitution.

The plan was mastered and called genocide

(Never wanted to see you around0

Took all the children and then we died,

(Never wanted to see you around)

The few that remained were never found,

(Never wanted to see you around)

All in a system Down…..Down…..Down……

Down…..Walk Down……

(Watch them all fall down),

Revolution, the only solution,

The armed response of an entire nation,

Revolution, the only solution,

We've taken all your shit, now it's time for restitution.

The plan was mastered and called genocide

(Never wanted to see you around)

Took all the children and then we died,

(Never wanted to see you around)

The few that remained were never found,

(Never wanted to see you around)

All in a system, Down-





"B.Y.O.B.", Mezmerize, System Of A Down







Why do they always send the poor

Barbarisms by Barbaras

With pointed hells

Victorious victories kneels

For brand new spankin' deals

Marching forward hypercritic and

Hypnotic computers

You depend on our protection

Yet you feed us lies from the tablecloth

Everybody's going to the party have a real good time

Dancing in the desert blowing up the sunshine

Kneeling roses disappearing into

Moses' dry mouth

Breaking into Fort Knox stealing

Our intentions

Hangers sitting dripped in oil

Crying freedom

Handed to obsoletion

Still you feed us lies from the tablecloth

Everybody's going to the party

have a real good time

Dancing in the desert blowing up the sunshine

Everybody's going to the party

have a real good time

Dancing in the desert blowing up the sunshine

Blast off

It's party time

And we don't live in a fascist nation

Blast off

It's party time

And where the fuck are you?

Where the fuck are you?

Where the fuck are you?

Why don't presidents fight the war?

Why do they always send the poor?

Why don't presidents fight the war?

Why do they always send the poor?

Why do they always send the poor?

Why do they always send the poor?

Why do they always send the poor?

Kneeling roses disappearing into

Moses' dry mouth

Breaking into Fort Knox stealing

Our intentions

Hangers sitting dripped in oil

Crying freedom

Handed to obsoletion

Still you feed us lies from the tablecloth

Everybody's going to the party

have a real good time

Dancing in the desert blowing up the sunshine

Everybody's going to the party

have a real good time

Dancing in the desert blowing up the sun

Where the fuck are you?

Where the fuck are you?

Why don't presidents fight the war?

Why do they always send the poor?

Why don't presidents fight the war?

Why do they always send the poor?

Why do they always send the poor?

Why do they always send the poor?

Why do they always send the poor?

Why do they always send the poor?

Why do they always send the poor?

They always send the poor

They always send the poor















"Holy Mountains", Hypnotize, System Of A Down







Can you feel their haunting presence?

Can you feel their haunting presence?

Liar, Killer, Demon

Back to the river Aras

Someone's blank stare deemed it warfare

Liar, Killer, Demon

Back to the river Aras

Freedom, Freedom, Free, Free

Can you hear the holy mountains?

Liar, Killer, Demon

Back to the river Aras

Someone's mouth said paint them all red

Liar, Killer, Demon

Back to the river Aras

Freedom, Freedom, Free, Free

They have all returned

Resting on the mountainside

We have learned that you have no

They have returned

Resting on the mountainside

We have learned that you have no

Honour, Murderer, Sodomizer

Back to the river Aras

They have returned

Resting on the mountainside

We have learned that you have no

Honour, Murderer, Sodomizer

Back to the river Aras

Freedom, Freedom, Free, Free

















"Reconstructive Demonstrations", Imperfect Harmonies, Serj Tankian







They say women cry when walls retire

They say that men die when laws retire, when laws retire

Unconventional deconstructive conversations

(Teach us how to eat)

I' will never let you go

Conversational reconstructive demonstrations

(Teach us how to speak)

Why, confess the final blow

Teach us how to eat from your broken hands

'Cause nothing seems to grow

Teach us how to speak, the language of your only dreams

No one seems to understand that

We are falling to our knees

I forgot to pray; you forgot to say please

(Kill me), I, never let you

I forgot to go; you forgot to know me

(Teach us how to speak), why confess the final blow

Teach us how to eat from your broken hands

'Cause nothing seems to grow

Teach us how to speak, the language of your only dreams

No one seems to understand that

We are falling to our knees

Blindness serves not God nor man

So we are falling into disease

I'm falling into disease

I'm falling…we're falling…

Into…into disease…disease, disease…

We've fallen

No one seems to understand that

We are falling to our knees

Blindness serves not God nor man

So we are falling into disease

Disease













"Tars", Cool Gardens, Serj Tankian







To ban the band from the balcony,

An open peak to our hearts,

Embracing freely the hungry energy bearers, alive.

Let's dance in our own ways,

To an aggressive procession,

To an obscured profession,

A passion, without intellect,

For the price of one is less than his weight in cotton.

Indoctrination through education,

Grant powers buying the university.

The scholars, known, of our time,

Those that have borne the burden will teach

The rest of us, trustworthy, worthy of true praise

Those are the so-called non-intellectuals.

The institutions institutionalize the lies

With the real truths, sitting on the side

Dear Congress,

The People of the U.S. of A,

Are sick of being fucked by the landlord.

We are ready to topple our fascist CIA,

And its drug importing business.

We are sick of being poisoned,

Raped, and incarcerated by your unjust laws.

We are willing and able to strike the system

Where it hurts the most, financially,

By boycotting holidays.

Then maybe, your bosses form industry will let you make some just laws.

Throughout history,

The most feared gods are

And have been the gods of industry,

Simply due to the fact that they have caused

More death and destruction than the Great Flood.

They have supported terrorist governments

[size="3"]That loot the world's natural resources,[/size]

[size="3"]While assassinating any and all opposition.[/size]

[size="3"]They have destroyed the environment[/size]

[size="3"]With their industrial toxins, and have supported,[/size]

[size="3"]As well as participated in the planning and execution[/size]

[size="3"]Of genocide.[/size]

[size="3"]It's time to expel these self aggrandizing gods of[/size]

[size="3"]Industry, from this planet[/size]




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