The Sand and Ice Bucket Challenges

28 Aug, '14

You must have heard of the #icebucketchallenge by now, or you had been challenged to do it and got yourself drenched. Other than the feeling of shock that you have experienced – I know I have – you must have also wondered how this particular challenge started and hopefully you went online to find out more about the disease it is helping raise awareness and funds for.

How it started is in contention, apparently; however, CTV News relates this which seams plausible:

For months now, several groups, from athletes to Christian groups have been pouring ice-cold water over themselves and filming it, sometimes simply for fun. The challenge grew in popularity this spring among both pro and amateur golfers, but it wasn’t until former pro golfer Greg Norman challenged NBC anchor Matt Lauer to the challenge that it hit the mainstream.

Back then, the idea was to either take the bucket of cold water on your head or donate $100 to a charity of your choice. A minor-league golfer in Florida named Chris Kennedy may have been the first to dedicate his ice bucket challenge to ALS research, but ALS Canada says it was really Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player who has ALS himself, who really got the challenge going back on July 29.

Since that date, millions of videos of ice bucket challenges have been uploaded to Facebook and Twitter in the last month, growing exponentially in popularity in recent weeks, and creating what many could argue has been one of the most viral fundraising campaigns in years.

Here’s a link to the Wikipedia page which has more information too.

I did my part and got drenched in ice cold water this afternoon. Yes it’s still sweltering in Bahrain, but the shock of having that ice-cold water is still something!


Mahmood does the #icebucketchallenge
Quite refreshing. I hope that I’ve contributed a bit to the disease’s awareness through this, and raised more money for the research into its hopeful cure.

Some people though, must divert even a good thing by politicising it. Over the past few weeks, we started to see “Sand Bucket Challenge” which hopes through its participants to raise awareness of the situation in Gaza. Like this one:

I don’t have any issue with people raising awareness of the terrible situation in Palestine in general and Gaza in particular, but what possible reason is there to denigrate people who championed medical research by trying to raise funds for ALS research? I feel sick watching these Sand Bucket Challenges. To me, this is just taking the very Palestinian cause and hijacking it by trying to force people into shame for their good actions. “How can you live while children in Gaza die?”, “How can you smile while people in Gaza are destitute?” and all the other similar messages.

I abhor what has happened in Gaza. I don’t think for a minute it was called for and it is as far away from fairness as can be. There is no question in my mind about that. But trying to constantly guilt trip people isn’t that great for your cause either. People have to live and life has to go on. There is no reason whatsoever not to be creative enough to start one’s own viral campaign if they can. In fact, a viral campaign for Palestine and Gaza has been successful and is still going on in various cities around the world. Please don’t destroy the good will those campaigns created with such a narrow-minded stunt like this.

I do not agree with the premise of this Sand Bucket politics and its emotional hijacking.

Now go pour some ice-cold water over yourself and donate to ALS research.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Emile Almahdi says:

    Well done Mahmood. Two thumbs up.

  2. Mary Lawyer Powers says:

    Thank you for participating in the ALS awareness campaign, Mahmood! I lost one of my Graduate Assistants to this terrible disease before he could finish his PhD. It is horrible thing to watch a brilliant young man destroyed by this dreadful disease.

  3. stevengregg says:

    What a beautiful little garden you have there, Mahmood. That must the lushest patch of grass in all of Araby.

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