Emre Çolak, a Galatasaray footballer, reminded Turkey what the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is all about one week ago in a Tweet. Personally, I commend him for his public service announcement. These days it is almost impossible to live without hearing about (or seeing) someone taking the challenge. At its heart the challenge is a good thing—it raises awareness for ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a disease that is estimated to affect 30,000 Americans alone at one time. But in this day and age, where the world is becoming more and more self-centered as technology grows, the challenge has raised many debates.

Anyone with a social media account can see how prevalent the culture of “Me, Me, Me” has become. People take “selfies” in a show of vanity while others tweet their own random thoughts as if their forty characters are gospel (and could even say anything coherent or meaningful). The ALS Ice Bucket challenge has in some eyes—at least judging by some of the opinions being voiced—been hi-jacked by this new culture. Some people post videos of them taking the challenge as a cheap show of vanity in a bid to feel good about themselves, with no intention of even donating. It isn’t hard to understand why—it’s the latest internet fad to go viral, and in life it always feels good to be part of a group. Unfortunately, it seems as if this phenomenon has been very evident in Turkey.

According to an August 27 announcement by the United States based ALS Association they have received 94.3 million dollars since July 29. This is compared to just 2.7 million dollars received in the same period last year (July 29-August 27). On August 28, the Turkish ALS Association announced that they had raised 779,000 Turkish Liras—the equivalent of 360,606 US dollars according to the latest exchange rates.

Despite the number being much lower than that for the US, it still represents a healthy increase from the numbers announced one week ago on the day of Emre’s Tweet. It had been just an appalling 13,000 Turkish Liras—6,017 US Dollars. One need only look at the disparity between the amounts raised during the first 24 hours of each country’s respective campaigns for confirmation. Again according to Sporx.com the US campaign raised 8.5 million dollars in its first day—its Turkish counterpart managed just 3,000 Turkish Liras, or 1,388 US Dollars. And that includes Atletico Madrid star Arda Turan’s personal donation of 1,000 Turkish Liras!

I’m not criticizing anyone. Perhaps the fact that a Turkish professor claimed (in one of those “only in Turkey” things) that accepting the Ice Bucket Challenge can lead to, among other things, death explains the lack of donations from Turkey(!). Or perhaps it is the fact that Turkey is not as rich as the United States, and thus people have less disposable income. I get those. Well, maybe just the latter. But my call is more to the numerous Turkish sports stars, movie stars, and pop stars who conspicuously share their Ice Bucket Challenge videos. If such rich people are doing this, then why are the donations so low? It certainly is something to think about. Thank you Emre Colak for your Tweet—someone had to say it.


By the way, I did NOT accept the Ice Bucket Challenge but I DID donate 100 US Dollars, as per the rules of the challenge. If you would also like to donate, please visit http://www.alsa.org/.

Bu arada ben Ice Bucket Challenge’ı kabul ETMEDIM ama challenge’ın kurallar gereğinde 100 Amerikan Dolarlik bağışında BULUNDUM. Sizde bağışta bulunmak isterseniz lütfen http://www.als.org.tr/sayfa.asp?sayfaID=11 sayfasını ziyaret ediniz.