Sunday, January 17, 2010

Barbados & Madeira

Flag of Barbados
Barbados is an island in the Western Atlantic
a part of the New World

The background tri-colours matches; blue, yellow, and blue. The major difference is the icon within the central yellow stripe. Barbados has the ancient symbol of Poseidon or Neptune, while Madeira employs the cross of the Order of Christ.

Flag of Madiera
Maidera is an island in the Eastern Atlantic
a part of the Old World

These symbols balance each other on numerous dimensions. Madeira has an inner white cross while Barbados has a black trident. The trident is reflective of Europe's polytheistic past when the various tribes of Europe were in tune with the timeless echoes of the ocean, while the cross is reflective of Europe's monotheistic present and fundamental role in enriching the 'poly-scholastic' branches of Christianity.

The geographic symmetry is rather uncanny. Both islands are at opposite ends of the Atlantic Ocean, just beyond the boundaries of the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas. Madeira is closer to the Old World and Barbados closer to the New World. They were proverbial welcoming stations and launching points in the romantic and perilous age of wind and sail.

They are also islands 'in between' continents. Madeira is just beyond the coast of Africa and Europe, at the same latitude of Africa yet considered a part of Europe. Barbados is an island of similar size 'in between' North and South America. Although Barbados is considered a part of North America, Barbados is closer to South America.

Madeira is not a 'full time' independent nation, as she belongs to the group of ambiguous semi-nations states with Puerto Rico, Guam, New Caledonia, Bermuda, and St. Helena. All of the 'part-time' states have their own flags and unique identities. But they are still connected to a full time nation. Portugal as of 2010 is the nation that has sovereignty over Madeira. While Barbados stands on her own two feet as a 'full time nation' since 1966.

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