Scott Conant’s The Scarpetta Cookbook (New York: Houghton Mufflin Publishing, 2013) listed “Lobster Salad with Burrata and Peaches” as one of the several uses of lobsters. He proceeds to to state that the this menu is:
sweet, tender, lobster, creamy burrata cheese, fresh, juicy peaches, ripe, just-picked tomatoes. On their own these ingredients are amazing. Combined, they make the best salad you can imagine.
But the lobster is one of the condemned creatures in Christianity’s and Judaism’s Holy scriptures; lobsters just happen to be in the category of forbidden meals– for the believer. Judaism labels accepted food as kosher and trief (not kosher); in Islam it is a three-prong cataloge: Halal, Haram and Haraam. While Halal means permitted actions (eating, behaviors, etc.), Haram denotes expressly forbidden behaviors (including eating of certain meals), and Haraam means things (behaviors, food) that are injurious to the eaters’ health or person. For centuries unending, religion holds a very powerful chord which controls what people believe, and what kinds of rituals they carry out in society. Many times secular thinkers often fail to realize the capitulating of religion, broadly understood; there is glaring undermining of the strongholds of religion over what we have denoted as humans. For emphasis such failure to fathom the realities and imports of religion springs from a narrow definition for this complex phenomenon. However, a restricted definition of religion is used for the specific purpose which privileges interpreter’s worldviews. A secular definition also tends to uplift social and secular ideologies, which means that which ever way we define religion, it will certainly come to inadequacy.
Definitional problems in religion are often overcome by an even more terrifying reality, religious violence. Commonly called religious violence by sociologists and many scholars of religion, what causes these conflicts are anything but religious. For example, interpretations of sacred scriptures have tended to create pandemonium which often spill from religious arena to larger society. Casualties and vandalism result. Death demographics often always show the vulnerable in the radar of martyrdom. Hardly would you hear that governors die from religious wars. The foot shoulders of these wars are mostly ‘un-educated’ in ‘secular’ language. Religious warriors speak, not our human language; theirs is a divine language–only it is established to function in the cosmos of humans.
The Holy Quran states that
This day [all] good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. (al-Maa’idah 5:5)
The hadith of the Muslim is mostly comprehensive because touches on several aspects of the Sharee’ah, the Islamic law.
Still on lobsters, James M. Acheson writes that mercantile interests in them have often led to conflicts in which hundreds of traps are destroyed, boats sunk, and even docks and fish houses burnt,” noting that “lobster wars lead to longstanding bitterness, violence, and court action.” His reference was to lobsters hunters in Maine.
Comparatively speaking, territorial domination (over land, water, natural resources, etc.) and economic, and political and social, psychological and religious interests will always be sources of perennial conflicts in Africa. Take Rwanda, for example, which went through an avoidable bloothbath because human life and dignity was defined along ethnic lines. One was not allowed to be Janus-tribed– both Tutsi or Tutu– at the same time; consequence of being either was simple: death. At any rate, while these African tribes sheathed themselves up in gothic attires, the world never stopped to watch their drama. In Nigeria, conflicts, ranging from internecine wars which result from fight over yam tubes, or pieces of land acreage; the ‘religious’ battles in the name of God (mostly Allah, in the northern section of this west African country), to overly politically-instigated conflicts because one ‘party’– seeks to take control over the kingdom of their national or local politics.
What is interesting in all of these is that the conflicts are largely peoples who had once (nearly in the past 2-3 days) been neighbors, families, tribeswomen and men. They had once been people who carried on their daily social, economic, and even religious, transactions together, until the book of their relationships got contaminated as a result of some divine spark of darkness. And all of a sudden all prior gains from their relationships are lost in the wind. The neigbor becomes ‘infidel,’ the archenemy, who must be eliminated if any type of meaningful progress must be achieved. No sense of humanity is sustained in such moments. And it is as though Africa’s lack of some of Europe’s and America’s natural woes and disasters have permanently cheated the continent of reason to be challenged, not to imply that black peoples are not challenged.