According to Asbarez, on New Year’s Day of 2018, Netflix began streaming the documentary “They Shall Not Perish, The Story of Near East Relief”, which offers a unique review of the efforts of the US to provide aid to the victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
The documentary was written and directed by George Billard and produced by Near East Foundation Board Chairman Emeritus Shant Mardirossian through his Acorne Productions, while Actor Victor Garber narrated it. Such Hollywood stars as Kathleen Chalfant, Ron Rifkin, Tony Shalhoub, and Andrea Martin made an appearance in the documentary. To offer some historical perspective, the film features historians Taner Akçam, Dr. H. Martin Deranian, Keith David Watenpaugh, Susan B. Harper, John M. Cooper, and Peter Balakian. Maurice Missak Kelechian and Robert Shenk provided off-camera expertise for the filming.
The response of the Near East Relief in regard to the “race extermination” of Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, as well as other Christian minorities of the Ottoman Empire is regarded as the first collective display of the US’s overseas humanitarian aid. In 15 years, the Near East Relief would raise over $116 million, as well as mobilize hundreds of volunteers to participate in the effort.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and to pay homage to the efforts of the Near East Relief, the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region commenced its “America We Thank You” campaign. More importantly, the campaign’s purpose was to educate both the Armenian and foreign audiences about the role of the US in the years of the Genocide.