Multi-Platinum Rock Band System of A Down Ask House Speaker Dennis Hastert to 'Do The Right Thing' In Support of Armenian Genocide Legislation
Band Rallies Their Fans With Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) in Front of Hastert's Batavia, IL Office Tuesday, Sept 27 at Noon
Band Are In Chicago in Advance Of Their Friday Evening Concert at Chicago's Allstate Arena
System of a Down, one of rock's most daring and innovative bands, have just announced that they - along with their fans, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA; http://www.anca.org/), Axis of Justice (http://www.axisofjustice.org/) and the Armenian Youth Federation - will visit the Batavia office of Rep. Dennis Hastert on Tuesday, September 27 (Noon) to ask Speaker Hastert to 'do the right thing' and keep his commitment to hold a vote on the pending Armenian Genocide legislation. If passed, the legislation will officially recognize Turkey's destruction of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923. The band have invited their fans to join with them in this effort by attending the rally and have set up a system by which fans can directly email Speaker Hastert on the issue.*
System of a Down's four band members - Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian, Shavo Odadjian and John Dolmayan - are of Armenian descent and have made awareness of the genocide, and genocide around the world, a central message of the band. All have lost family members to the Armenian Genocide.
On September 15, the House International Relations Committee overwhelmingly approved legislation recognizing the Armenian Genocide, despite objections from both Turkey and the Bush Administration. Despite his previous public support for the measure in 2000, Speaker Hastert has twice prevented the Armenian Genocide legislation from coming to a full vote in the House. Today the fate of this human rights issue rests in the Speaker's hands. He has two choices: either allow a vote on the Armenian Genocide Resolution, giving the 435 Members of the U.S. House a chance to cast their ballots on this human rights measure or, delay, defer, and ultimately defeat the Armenian Genocide Resolution by refusing to bring the measure to a vote of the full U.S. House. The rally is in support of a fair and full vote in the House of Representatives, ending U.S. denial of this crime and opening the doors to justice - to the restoration, reparation, and restitution owed to the victims of genocide.
"Dennis, do the right thing" stated Serj Tankian, "I just visited my 97- year-old grandfather, my only link to the far past, and promised him that I would go and try to talk to Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House, and make sure that he takes this opportunity to bring up the Armenian Genocide Resolution to the floor of the House of Representatives. This is a personal issue to me and System."
The System of a Down/ANCA rally will take place at the offices of Rep. Dennis Hastert - 27 North River Street, Batavia, Illinois (about an hour from downtown Chicago). The rally is scheduled for 12 Noon-2:00 PM on Tuesday, September 27. The Armenian community, activists, and the band's fans from across the greater Chicago area are expected to attend the rally.
Members of System of a Down and Aram Suren Hamparian, Executive Director of ANCA, are available to discuss the rally and pending legislation on Tuesday, 9/27 and Friday, 9/30, the day of their concert at Chicago's Allstate Arena.
*System Of A Down have asked their fans to take action and send a free WebFax urging Hastert to hold a vote on the Armenian Genocide Resolution. http://capwiz.com/anca/mail/oneclick_compose/?alertid=8041966
About System Of A Down: Six months after their album Mesmerize debuted at number one on Billboard's Top 200 album charts, the quartet returns with Hypnotize on November 22, part two of a promised two-album set. The American/Columbia recording artists are nominated for an American Music Award in the "Favorite Artist" in Alternative category and are currently on a North American headlining tour through October 12. For more information, visit the band's website: http://www.systemofadown.com/
Background on the issue:
On September 15th of this year, the International Relations Committee overwhelmingly approved legislation properly recognizing this crime against humanity. During the course of a three-hour meeting, 21 Representatives on this 50-member panel spoke in favor of H.Res.316 and H.Con.Res195, which were adopted by bipartisan majorities of 40 to 7 and 35 to 11, respectively. Clearly, just as in 2000, legislation recognizing the Armenian Genocide enjoys the support of a large Congressional majority.
The full video of the 9/15/05 webcast can be viewed at: http://wwwc.house.gov/international_relations/fullhear.htm
In October of 2000, Speaker Hastert withdrew the Armenian Genocide Resolution from consideration only moments before it was to reach to House floor.
Following his withdrawal of this measure, he issued a statement affirming his personal support for the Armenian Genocide Resolution, stressing that the Resolution enjoyed the support of a bi-partisan Congressional majority, and pledging to bring this legislation back to the House floor.
The Speaker has, in the past, taken positive actions on the Armenian Genocide issue:
1) Remarks on the House floor, on April 19, 1994, marking the 79th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide: "Over a million Armenians were exiled and eventually murdered by the Ottoman Turks beginning on April 24, 1915. As a result of this genocide, the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire was effectively eliminated through a carefully executed government plan."
2) His vote, on June 5th of 1996, for the Radanovich Amendment, to cut U.S. aid to Turkey until it ceases denying the Armenian Genocide. This measure was adopted on the House floor by a bipartisan majority of 268 to 153.
SOURCE: American/Columbia Records
CONTACT: Angelica Cob-Baehler, Vice President, Columbia Records, Media,
Santa Monica, +1-310-449-2508; email: Angelica.Cob@sonybmg.com