“Protect the Land” by System Of A Down
As noted in the trivia section, System Of A Down’s “Protect the Land” is one with a humanitarian undertone. What it speaks to is an ongoing conflict in the region surrounding the Eurasian country of Armenia. More specifically it is a land dispute between the Armenians resident of a state called Artsakh and the government of the country which has claimed that land, Azerbaijan. And by extension other actors such as Turkey, Russia and even Israel are involved in the beef.
Being of Armenian descent themselves System of a Down are siding with the people of Artsakh, who by the way are almost entirely Armenian. It is they whom the band are specifically referring to as freedom fighters, i.e. ‘protectors’ of their land. But considering that no proper nouns are actually featured in the lyrics, the song also has a general applicability. In other words, the way the subjects of the track are presented – as victims of a bullying, superior force that wants to claim their territory – can be applied to a number of groups around the world.
But as noted above, the specific purpose of the tune is to shed light on the plight of the people of Artsakh. And in addition to donating the proceeds from Protect the Land to an NGO supporting Armenian victims of the current conflict, System of a Down are also hoping that fans and sympathizers will go even further to support this cause.
The music video to this track was directed by the pair of Shavo Odadjian and Ara Soudjian. The video itself depicts various Armenian-Americas as well as actual footage from the ongoing conflict in Artsakh.
When was “Protect the Land” released?
This is one half of a double A-side, unassociated with any album, which System of a Down came out with on 6 November 2020. And the labels that supported them in this endeavor are Columbia Records and American Recordings. Meanwhile, the song that Protect the Land was released with is entitled Genocidal Humanoidz.
For the record, this is the first single that System of a Down has dropped since 2006’s Lonely Day. This is because the band had by and large broken up. But they did regroup, at the behest of John Dolmayan, the group’s drummer, largely in the name of supporting a humanitarian cause, a US-based NGO called the Armenia Fund.
This song was written by System of a Down band member Daron Malakian. He did so back in 2018. At the time, he penned this song, he intended it to be used by another band he is involved in, Scars on Broadway. But he decided to drop it with System of a Down in light of a conflict which developed in 2020 – itself part of a decades-long beef – which has been dubbed the Nagorno-Karabakh War. This battle is situated in the South Caucasus region of Europe/Asia.
And the band is highly vested in it since they trace their respective ancestries back to the perennially-troubled Armenia, one of the main countries involved in the conflict. For instance, all four of lead singer’s Serj Tankian’s grandparents survived of the Armenian Genocide of the early-20th century. And he has stated that this current war reminds him of that horrific moment in history.