From The Chronicle Of Higher Education: Jared Diamond’s Lawsuit

Full article here (links provided).

Thanks to a commenter for putting up this link.

I first read the article back when it came out in a print copy of the New Yorker, and never doubted the veracity of Diamond’s accounts, so much as his conclusions.  Now, apparently the subjects of his article have filed a lawsuit against him on those accounts:

 “In a new report, the four writers argue that Mr. Diamond botched the history of the conflict he described, and they say that his errors may have placed Mr. Wemp in danger.”

Unintended consequences.  However, there’s also this:

“For nearly a year, Mr. Diamond’s article has been scrutinized by Rhonda Roland Shearer, director of the Art Science Research Laboratory, a multifaceted New York organization with a sideline in media criticismMs. Shearer, a sculptor and writer, is the widow of Stephen Jay Gould, who preceded Mr. Diamond as a widely esteemed public interpreter of science.”

Apparently, these gentleman had a little help.  Here’s to hoping that if they were used once to prove a point, they won’t be used twice.  

Jared Diamond: “Vengeance Is Ours” In The New Yorker


Please See The Comments And Also: This letter here which discusses, and disputes, the article paragraph by paragraph, “suggesting” that:

1.  Diamond and the New Yorker issue an apology for the publication insinuating the Handa clan as lawless, taught at an early age to hate, and commit heinous crimes without regard to law, order or morality.

2.  Withdraw from publication and circulation the article in all versions (digital, audio, etc).

3.  That Dr. Diamond consider the impact it would have on his professional reputation should he allow this factually untrue article to remain.

4.   That some form of compensation be considered for Daniel since he has left employment and is hiding in another part of the country for fear of his life.

What were Diamond’s obligations in writing the article, and did he meet them?

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3 thoughts on “From The Chronicle Of Higher Education: Jared Diamond’s Lawsuit

  1. Daniel Wemp is his own man. To suggest or speculate otherwise without any evidence is unfair.

    Wemp has a high School education. Educated men in his Handa tribe are organizing (an economist with a master degree, an attorney working on his PHd in law, teachers etc). He has a cell phone– despite being in hiding and can tell you himself.

    Go to our first article —

    Just look at the photo of Daniel Wemp. He is sitting behind his computer in his World Wildlife Fund office. He earned best admin assistant one year. Look at this man and ask yourself: Did Dr. Diamond really think that his driver Wemp was a secret murderer who coldly hire killers who put Isum in a wheelchair AND then told him all about it knowing it would be on the Internet?

    Diamond wrote:”Despite some big differences between our backgrounds—Daniel’s Highland village life focussed on growing sweet potatoes, raising pigs, and fighting, and my American city life focussed on college teaching and research.” Exactly how could Mr. Wemp be “focussed on growing sweet potatoes, raising pigs, and fighting” and also be a trust WWF employee? When I asked Wemp if he would describe his life as “growing sweet potatoes, raising pigs, and fighting” he answered, “I’m a trained mechanic! That sounds like stone age.”

    Diamond also wrote “Daniel estimated that, in the three years that it took him to get his revenge, he had to furnish about three hundred pigs. By custom, the pigs to be slaughtered during that long phase of preparation should be not one’s own but, rather, stolen from the enemy clan.”

    Diamond say Wemp stole 300 pigs! With squeals and foot prints (tracks); how exactly do you steal 300 pigs over three years? You do the math. It one pig every couple days. This are valuable assets. Paul Sillitoe, who worked in the Southern Highlands for many years and wrote a book on pigs in PNG told me this would be “an impossible plunder.” When I asked the New Yorker lawyer “Exactly how does one steal 300 pigs?” She answered honestly, “Well, it is a lot of pigs.”

    All this and more will be included in my team’s report.

  2. In addition, you may find this article helpful. It’s about the Diamond lawsuit and Mako John Kuwimb, a Handa tribesman, lawyer and PhD in law student, who the Australian newspaper calls the “power broker” for this case.,25197,25382849-7582,00.html

    There is a link in the above article to a detailed letter written by Mako that cites, paragraph by paragraph, Diamond’s errors and libels.

  3. Rhonda, thanks for responding.

    Of course, I know very little about the situation. I’ll take a look at the errors and libels letter.

    I was giving Diamond the benefit of the doubt, which perhaps was too much to give. As to speculation on Wemp’s character, I can’t as I don’t know him. I was expressing (speculatively, I admit) concerns about the interests of everyone involved.

    If Diamond’s portrayal is a profound misrepresentation, then the charges are pretty serious, and
    I’m hoping that in large part, due to your and Wemp’s efforts, and the efforts of others, he’ll have the chance to get the facts out in the open.

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