Monday, December 7, 2009

The Emeralad & Ivory Coast: Ireland & West Africa


Several Years ago I was talking to my friend at a student involvement activity fair at Oregon State University. My friend Chris Lay was a part of the international student friendship club and had his booth decorated in the flags of the world. Suddenly an older man came up to Mr. Lay and told him that the Irish Flag was upside down and must place it right side up. At this point I didn't know much about flags but Lay said there is nothing wrong with this flag & that you have it confused with another country in Africa. The man ignored Chris's explanation and again demanded that 'his' flag be reversed! Lay decided to do it, and the strange man was happy. Five minutes after the man left, Lay put the flag back to it's original position. Lay then told me there was a girl from the Ivory Coast in the international club.

If you live in the United States, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand, then you may have noticed the colours of Ireland flying almost with equal passion of your nations flag. The Irish are proud of their flag even if they become hyphenated Irish-American, Irish-Canadian, Irish-Aussies, or Irish-Kiwis.

However the Irish flag is not unique. It has a special kind of twin. You can easily turn the colours of Ireland upside down and it will represent the nation of the Ivory Coast in West Africa!

So where is the Ivory Coast? Amazingly it is at the same longitude of Ireland. This means they are in the same time zone, which allows them to dream and live under similar stars at night, but during the day their heavens are as different as day and night. The sun in Ireland is present but weak and often overshadowed by clouds, making it a dark land allowing the natives to have a light complexion. While in the Ivory Coast the sun is strong and intense, blasting though the clouds with a preponderance of light, allowing the natives to have a dark complexion. Thus the Irish have a skin like the leopard while the Ivorians have a skin like the black panther.

Historically both nations are relatively new, born in the 20th Century. Ireland was the first of nations recognized free in 1922, while the Ivory Coast became a nation in 1960. African and Asian nations keenly remember their oppression from Europe, but the Irish also belong in the club of oppressed nations by the 'white man.' The Irish were under the thumb of the British Empire while the Ivory Coast was under the pinky of the French Empire. Although the Irish are white themselves, their oppression by the 'British Whites' has been by far the longest compared to any other nation 'colonized' by the British.

Much of America was enriched with Irish kin who came in search of a better dream. While much of America was forcibly fused with Irovian kin in the nightmare of the Atlantic slave trade.

Whenever an Irish-American marries into a African-American family (or vice verse) there is good chance that the combo maybe combining the Emerald and Ivory Nations.

Ireland and the Ivory Coast are a proverbial union of Ebony and Ivory.

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