|Barefoot Nazis? - No, these are the footprints of Goddess Lakshmi, together with the traditional Indian symbol of good fortune.|
Now, who might have said that? Funnily, this comes from someone also walking barefoot... but he does it for a cause, he says. Richard Hudgins from Louisville, Kentucky, has decided to forego wearing shoes for a year in order to raise awareness as well as money to provide shoes for poor children in need.
"For 365 days I'm going to wear no shoes to collecting new shoes and raising money to buy shoes for Children who have never had the luxury of owning a pair.", he claims on his fundraising web site as well as on Facebook.
So, here's yet another charity aimed at giving shoes to the poor... and while it has been pointed out at length, why such campaigns (such as TOMs or Soles4Souls) are detrimental, this man doesn't understand. He rather prefers insulting people who point out the bad sides of such charities, especially the barefooters, who know that the solution to poverty and the living conditions of the poor isn't buying them shoes:
Hudgins is taking a different approach than other shoe charities, since he plans to buy shoes for children in the target region, rather than shipping shoes there. At least, he would thus support the local manufacturers. But this is the only positive aspect of his charity plans. People who have lived a barefoot life from early childhood on have naturally sturdy feet which can withstand a lot of things we so-called "civilized" people with our pampered and habitually shod feet can hardly imagine. The surfaces he highlighted in his Facebook post by ways of written yelling (all caps) are hardly a problem to walk on in naturally developed bare feet. And people who are used to walking barefoot will have developed an awareness for possible dangers and hazards to their toes and soles.
There are possible health hazards from walking barefoot near open sewage (hookworms and other parasites), but these aren't alleviated by sending shoes to the people. The greater need is for those people to have access to clean drinking water and supply them with a better sewage and waste management. Instead of giving an example of yet another poor aid project, he should concentrate on the real needs of the poor.
More example of poor aid, especially where shoe donations are concerned, can be found in this blog post:
So, if Mr. Hudgins thinks that barefooters who know a bit about what feet can do and why shoe aid fads are bad are "barefoot nazis", I shall take pride in ironically adopting that title and say: Yes, indeed, I am a barefoot nazi! Feet Heil!
That's also how I concluded my comment on his Facebook posting - I also congratulated on his score of two Godwin Points *)...
|Another pair of Lakshmi's footprints|
Perhaps Mr. Hudgins needs a bit more education on what nazis truly were and are about...
*) "Godwin Points" refers to Godwin's law, of course:
Godwin's law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies) is an assertion made by Mike Godwin in 1990 that has become an Internet adage. It states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." In other words, Godwin said that, given enough time, in any online discussion—regardless of topic or scope—someone inevitably makes a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis.
Although in one of its early forms Godwin's law referred specifically to Usenet newsgroup discussions, the law is now often applied to any threaded online discussion, such as forums, chat rooms and blog comment threads, and has been invoked for the inappropriate use of Nazi analogies in articles or speeches.