It’s now safe to say that the ice bucket challenge has turned out to be one of the most positive and productive Internet campaigns in history.
Not only has it helped the ALS Association raise $79.7 million to combat Lou Gehrig’s disease – in less than a month – but it has also inspired similar awareness campaigns for other diseases and charities.
For instance, a “rice bucket challenge” went viral in India that encourages people to donate a bucket full of rice to the poor.
Keeping the success rate of the online trend in mind, a couple of human rights activists initiated a special hashtag movement in solidarity with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip who have lost their lives and livelihood since Israel started its military operation “Protective Edge” on July 8.
It’s called the “#RubbleBucketChallenge.” Although it’s not clear who started the campaign, it appears to be the brainchild of Jordanian comedian Mohammed Darwaza and Palestinian journalist Ayman al Aloul – who performed the challenge and uploaded it on YouTube.
“I liked the idea of the ice bucket challenge so I decided to invent the Palestinian version,” he says in the video.
“We looked for a bucket of water, however the use of water is more important than to empty over our heads. And even if the water is available it is difficult to freeze it,” Aloul added before inviting more people to join him.
“If five famous people in the world like actors or presidents will do the challenge, that means I succeeded in sending the message about Gaza,” he concluded.
A Facebook page was also created by a Gazan university student, Maysam Yusef, on Friday which garnered thousands of "likes" and videos over the weekend.
The page states it “aims to raise awareness about the war on Gaza where people are bombed inside their homes. All people are invited to accept the challenge.”
Here are some submissions:
While 68 people have been killed on the Israeli side – four of them soldiers – latest reports reveal the conflict has so far killed at least 2,133 Palestinians and wounded more than 11,000.
The United Nations estimates more than 17,000 homes have been destroyed, leaving 100,000 people homeless in Gaza.
According to social media experts, one of the major reasons the ice bucket challenge went viral was due to the fact that celebrities and tech giants like Justin Timberlake, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates contributed to it.
Had it not been for them, the campaign might not have been as successful as it proved to be – which is why the Rubble Bucket Challenge will never be as successful as its original predecessor.
It has been observed in the past few weeks that expressing disapproval of the humanitarian crisis being inflicted on Gazans does not seem to be an option for anyone anymore, especially celebrities.
Singer Rihanna and NBA player Dwight Howard received much criticism for posting “#FreePalestine” on their Twitter accounts. Both of them eventually had to delete their tweets accompanied by separate apologies.
The rubble bucket campaign is no doubt a wise move. However, considering how things have worked out in the past, it’s highly unlikely that any well-known personality or celebrity would accept this challenge.