In Mideast, a gritty twist on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Gritty Middle Eastern alternatives to the ALS ice bucket challenge: the rubble bucket and the sand bucket

Social media websites have been deluged with videos of people dumping buckets of ice water on their heads as part of a global awareness campaign for the disease ALS. But as the campaign has gone viral, people in some of the Arab world's hot spots have modified the challenge to take advantage of a far more abundant resource in the region: rubble.

Journalists and activists in the Gaza Strip and Syria launched what they dubbed the "Rubble Bucket Challenge" in an attempt to wrench attention back to the conflicts engulfing the Middle East.

Ayman al Aloul, a Gaza-based journalist, took to YouTube on Saturday, explaining that even if a bucket of water could be spared there is no electricity for refrigerators.

"So we decided to make a Palestinian version using the rubble from homes demolished in Gaza," he says. After the bucket is emptied on his head, he asks viewers to forgive him for appearing "dusty" in subsequent reports because he may not find water at home for washing.

Syrian opposition activists took on a more defiant tone, however, with one young man staring intently at the camera and challenging "all the famous people in the Arab world to experience the suffering we are going through" before he grabs a nearby bucket of sand and pours it on himself.

"This is our suffering. Go ahead, someone show us solidarity," he says. "Perhaps today this will be a message to the world, so they can feel what we feel."

The Ice Bucket Challenge, conceived by the ALS Assn., has raised $88.5 million to help fight the neurodegenerative disease, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Bulos is a special correspondent.

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