ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: to be accepted or declined?

Miguel Cid

ALS is a disease that affects people almost at random, and the Ice Bucket Challenge that went viral in late July has brought much awareness to the disease.

But since the challenge has emerged, it has strangely almost been put against what happened when people began rioting a few weeks later in Ferguson against systematic racial oppression in the U.S. Even people in Palestine are seeking solidarity and some of the same kind of attention that the social network phenomenon sparked.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has undoubtedly raised awareness and millions of dollars for Lou Gehrig’s Disease research with the help of social media. Yet while Facebook is flooded by tagged friends’ ALS challenge, it is relatively quiet in comparison when dealing with headlining issues such as the countless killings in Gaza and domestic issues like the Michael Brown incidents that have been happening in the country.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is a safe way to donate to a good cause, and ALS is something that has the potential to affect everyone. But maybe that’s why it has been embraced, because it can affect everyone in a negative way, not just a portion of society.

And often when something doesn’t affect someone and may even perpetuate a person’s status for the better, that something is disregarded as if it doesn’t exist, or maybe even on a more subconscious level, is protected.

On one hand, the Ice Bucket fundraising phenomenon is fueled by celebrities like J-Lo and Justin Bieber who participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge, because it is safe, popular and for a good cause, and subsequently draws many fans to participate.

But like celebrities who participate in the cause, many share the celebrities’ apolitical stance on supporting ALS research and staying clear of issues that affect themselves and millions around the globe.

The nation as a whole, like many generations past, seems to be leaning on the fences of being politically correct rather than politically involved.

Since the challenge took off, powered by the Internet, many around the world have chimed in on the conversation. Amongst them is Gazan journalist Ayman al Aloul, who posted a Youtube video, which went viral, titled the “Rubble Bucket Challenge.”

The video is of him talking to a camera and expressing his fondness of the idea of the Ice Bucket Challenge, but he explains that water and the production of ice would be a waste to pour over his head in Palestine. Instead, he has a bucket full of dirt, rocks and rubble poured over his head.

Rather than asking for a donation, he asks viewers for solidarity, saying, “This challenge is not for any specific people but for all people who sympathize with the Palestinian people.”

Regardless, over $100 million was raised for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in a short amount of time. Hopefully, the democratic process has affected those who participated in the challenge and awareness will emerge for other causes that are happening simultaneously.