I love history which is probably why adopted the hobby of reading history books and watching documentaries during my free time. During one of my fishing expeditions, I came across a piece about the Soviet Union and early-day Russia. The term Zek appeared severally which compelled me to look it up and to my surprise, it means prisoner in historic Russian prisons. Living conditions in these prisons is not something I would wish even to my worst enemy. In my opinion, I think it was preposterous and inhumane to subject one another to such cruelty. One thought after the other got me thinking about modern-day prisons and prisoners. Let’s walk together through this reality check.

I believe that we are all zeks (prisoners) in our own way. I have never been to prison and I pray I never experience life behind bars as a convicted Zek. However, I have been through school. Before you start grilling me, I can explain. I’m sure we have all equated school with prison at one point in our lives probably due to a teacher or bully who gave us a hard time. I know I have and most of my classmates did too. But that’s not what I mean when I talk about zeks in this article. My concern is about everyone walking freely and attempting to enjoy life every chance they get. I’m talking about you and me.

We are all prisoners of something and until we learn to free ourselves, we will always be struggling to survive through conflict. We all fall under one or more categories of zeks whether political, economic, or religious among others.

For instance, we are political zeks because politics and politicians turn us against each other denying us our freedom. A few days ago, the youth in my hometown was all over the news for engaging in riots and protests. During such riots, several people always sustain injuries, and in extreme situations, some lose their lives. How is this different from prison riots as prisoners protest bad services? We are prisoners in the free world because we do the bidding of these politicians and they always get away with it.

The fact that we are free means that we get to choose what to do and some people do. Freedom is our ability to exercise free will. It does not mean that we are not patriotic or passionate about their leaders. On the contrary, we are patriots but should always choose diplomacy instead of violence. Some of my readers might not agree with my interpretation of the situation but rushing out to fight each other for political reasons makes us political zeks.

It portrays us as expendable people used as pawns in a game we often don’t or can’t understand. We fail to understand that even as pawns, we are fundamental pieces. That we all possess the power to break out of political prisons by peacefully voting incapable leaders out rather than conforming to their call for chaos. We can be smart about it. Check my previous article on The Hustler Political Illusion.

I steer clear of religious conversations but I often speak my mind when the time is appropriate and there’s no better time than now as I compile this piece. A few days ago, I met a few of my campus buddies. We are all first-time dads so the issue of parenthood and later religion popped up. Kids need mentorship from all the key players in our society and religious leaders are no exception. Taking our kids to church was one thing we unanimously agree held so much power. But then rose the issue of churches being converted into business ventures and believers becoming religious prisoners. This introduced mixed feelings to the conversation hence my assertion that conversations on religion often become heated.

We all have our religious believes which probably explains why most conversations and debates about religion become heated. Growing up, I remember our catechist teaching us that there is one omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient God. With this in mind, I always wonder why we allow being divided based on religion yet we serve one God? Religious leaders are supposed to be selfless as they serve their congregants. Any behavior contrary to this should raise flags. I mean, we have seen some religious leaders whose primary focus is on amassing wealth by turning on their congregants. Consequently, they have turned their congregants into prisoners who do their bidding. Religion is a very sensitive issue so I’ll leave it at that.

My only hope is that we focus on the scriptures and spirituality because religion is gradually being corrupted. Click To Tweet

A high-quality life depends on one’s wealth and ability to achieve various basic needs. As a result, most of us dive so deep into work seeking this wealth. We become prisoners of work. We work day and night seeking financial and economic nourishment to lead a happy life. Economic imprisonment is one of the greatest hindrances to a life of freedom and happiness. Don’t get me wrong, economic empowerment is important but we need to draw the line. I always believe that money is not everything, instead, it’s the only thing. However, I don’t obsess over it by striking a balance in my life through the family.

We need to know when to set work aside and enjoy our freedom. One thing with being an economic Zek is that one focuses on money oblivious of other crucial aspects of life such as family and friends. I knew a decorated army guy who focused on doing his job hence rising up the ranks quickly. At the age of thirty-five, he had been crowned major and retirement was knocking. But he had nothing to go back to. We thank him for his service, but he did not have a life outside the army. While others focused on striking a balance in their lives, he remained oblivious of family. A few years later he realized that by being a prisoner of work and focusing on growing his professional portfolio he had lost one of the most important gifts in life, building a family!

Let’s face it, if we look closer at our lives there are one or two things that slow us down. The main reason for this is that we have allowed these things to imprison us. We have allowed ourselves to be Zeks. We can unanimously agree that by being Zeks we lose something vital in life, happiness. And in extreme situations such as political imprisonment, we might not be lucky enough and end up losing our lives. Break out of that which is dragging you down. Claim your freedom and cease being a Zek!

Can you relate to this article? If you do, please share it with your friends. Until next time, Adios.

14 thoughts on “The Zek”
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