‘Rubble bucket challenge’ is latest online salvo in Gaza conflict


It’s been going on for weeks. Relentlessly. With each new salvo, we wonder: will it never end?

It is the #ALSIceBucketChallenge, a viral social media trend that’s inspired celebrities, politicians and thousands of everyday citizens to make videos of themselves dumping buckets of ice water over their heads, ostensibly to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurodegenerative disease colloquially known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

But as the summer wears on, the Ice Bucket Challenge has led many to create spinoffs of the meme — including the IDF, and now, Gazans.

The latest Israeli-Palestinian conflict has played out over social media since the start, with the IDF tweeting regularly and Hamas utilizing a number of accounts after repeated suspensions by Twitter.

So it seems only natural that each side should take up a bucket challenge, and its hashtag, to “raise awareness” for their cause.

While Israeli soldiers smeared their faces with hummus, Gazans have, not surprisingly given the devastation surrounding them, taken a darker approach: the #rubblebucketchallenge, created by Palestinian student Maysam Yusef and publicized by journalist Ayman Aloul.

In Aloul’s video, which has been viewed over 20,000 times on YouTube, the journalist stands amid the wreckage of several buildings and has a bucket of dust and gravel dumped over his head.

Alluding to severe water shortages in Gaza,  Aloul announces that “the use of water is too important to empty over our heads.” At the video’s end, once covered in rubble and dust, he says, “We do not have water, but this is what we have.”

The #rubblebucketchallenge (also known as the #Dustbucketchallenge or #remainsbucketchallenge) has attracted thousands of Facebook likes and inspired challenge videos from Mumbai, Germany, the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

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