embodying the eritrean hippie

About Eritrea - Art & Sport

Hippie, you said? Those with long hair, boots and outrageous clothing? Well, hold your thoughts for a minute.

 

These children of the world gave rise to the millennials of the day. I have a feeling that we need a new word to describe the modern day hippie. There is certainly some sort of cultural thing happening; a movement similar to that of the hippies in the 60’s and 70’s though I can’t quite put my finger on it. The word “hippie” actually comes from the word “Hip or Hep”. It is an old fashioned word which is said to have originated from a West African word “hipi or xippi” that means “to open one’s eyes”. Around the late 60’s, young people living on the fringe of society began a counterculture by rejecting established institutions, criticizing middle class values and violence, embracing aspects of Eastern philosophy and being eco-friendly.

Though the hippie movement had flaws, it resulted in some improvement among people at the time. Advocating for peace and love, hipsters sought to increase society’s awareness of many troubling issues. They even went further to have major effect on culture, influencing popular music, television, film, literature and the arts. Writers like Paulo Coelho and left-wing activists like Ché embraced the green ideology and were known for their travelling habits.

Coelho even said that those adventures transformed him and enabled him to see the world with better reflection of itself in his eyes. He also credited his transformation as the driving force to seek writing career and openly express his views. Steve Jobs also asserted his hippie status and that shift opened his mindset to be receptive to reason and logic of facts in the Apple innovative revolution. The list goes on to include notable individuals like Bill Gates, Steve Wonder, Bob Dylan and others. Being true to their consciousness, all of them exceled in both life and career. Many thoughtful hippies distanced themselves from the very idea that the way a person dresses could be a reliable signal of who he or she is – a stance especially embraced by the likes of Steve Jobs. This counterculture of free living is fading in the 21st century due to technology that defines new ways of living your life day after day. The significance of technology can easily be seen when you don’t have to interact with people to share ideas as you can easily know so much about any person over the internet.

The 21st century is an interesting time to be alive, lucky us! Cultures are being integrated at very fast pace.

The millennial generation is the generation that lives in a world where technology is always prevalent. Ever-evolving technology makes sure that youngsters are glued to their screens to catch up with new development at the expense of missing out on what happens right in front of their eyes. At this rate, there is a high probability of witnessing a real-life version of George Orwell’s novel: a dystopian society where humans are enslaved by technology and lose all free will.

There has been a gradual increase among young Eritreans who are attracted to smart phones and tablets, too eager to make up for lost time at their mercy. New ways of performing activities is emerging: picking a wardrobe that suits you just by browsing through pictures and getting current magazines from a local digital library. The same goes for keeping in mind that technology will be a key part to help us regenerate the earth’s vitality. Although we haven’t really utilized these smart pieces of glass to a point where all of their function becomes handy, it is a start to a much spread-out exploitation. Raising consciousness is also seen among these closet hippies because this is a generation looking for meaning in life, seeking higher understanding of good life – present, aware and with eminent vibe. Many have redefined lifestyles and ways of expressing their feelings through music, poems and other forms of art. Through their decisions, they question and distance themselves from the conformist segments of society that are outdated.

Nowadays youngsters tend to eat what they want instead of adhering to strict rules or labels and move about without being constrained by harsh weather, home sickness and others. They also appreciate creativity that happens around them – tune into rhythm of life through music, arts, crafts, dancing, reading, writing and connecting to others. Many also get to know their roots and stay in touch with their tribal nature, animal instinct; being one with other humans, animals, nature and the universe. Millennials are working toward a life in which they can choose their own schedule and be free from the rat race. They seek to connect to community and build these connections strongly believing that is the way of the future. Awareness is also growing in using products that have the least negative impact on the world. Although we are a long way from properly processing and recycling used items, eco-friendly approach is implemented by using cloth bags instead of plastic bags and by disposing harmful substances like engine oil at appropriate containers.

These days people tend to approach one another warmly. They not only shake hands but also hug one another. They also slow down and take time to connect with people they interact with daily, sharing snacks and thoughts with one another and offering the gift of a generous smile. They have strong desire to live life with both presence and purpose, as they feel this is what will help us grow and contribute back to community and the earth in a broader sense. An active lifestyle is the norm of the day where people are always up for adventure and try to go through as many experiences as possible. Choosing a gentle and non-doctrinaire ideology that favors peace, love and personal freedom, they are seekers of meaning and value. It can all be summarized in the songs of the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” and Macklemore’s “Good Old Days”.

Eritrean millennials are on the verge of defining a new outlook in community life, both personally and as a whole. What stands out as close links with their surrounding was considered taboo in previous generations. All-inclusive attitude provides bigger and closer picture of what is going on around them. It is hard to miss various tastes emerging among this generation. Some embark on making their mark on the spot through their brushes, others through poems, many through books, all living in harmony with their immediate surrounding. Even the conversations have progressed from the simple ‘how’s it going?’ to the deeper ‘what’s really going on with you?’ This shows who you really are and that you are in terms with your true identity. After all, reputation is what people think of you while character is what angels know of you. So, there we have it... I wonder if anyone is on a similar journey… maybe there is no label… maybe it’s just what came to mind, but either way they are some sort of hippie.... their own kind.