‘They wouldn’t just eat any white men that fell from the sky’

'Implying that your [uncle] jumps out of the plane and somehow we think it's a good meal is unacceptable' ...

THE DAILY MAIL – Outraged Papua New Guinea academics have slammed President Joe Biden for his ‘unacceptable’ suggestion that his uncle was eaten by cannibals in the country after his plane was shot down during World War II.

Biden implied on two occasions Wednesday that his maternal uncle 2nd Lieutenant Ambrose J. Finnegan had met a grisly end at the hands of cannibals after his plane was shot down by the enemy over New Guinea in 1944.

But the White House and official defense records confirmed that Finnegan died when the military plane he was in experienced engine failure and crashed into the Pacific Ocean, not over land.

Historically, cannibalism has been reported Papua New Guinea, the Pacific nation that occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, but local academics say Biden’s categorization of the act is ‘very offensive’.

Michael Kabuni, a political science lecturer at the University of Papua New Guinea, told The Guardian cannibalism was previously practiced by some communities in very specific contexts and that locals ‘wouldn’t just eat any white men that fell from the sky’.

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Other analysts branded Biden’s claims as ‘unsubstantiated and poorly judged’, especially during a time in which the US has been trying to strengthen its ties with Papua New Guinea.

Kabuni argued that the Melanesian people, which includes the those from Papua New Guinea, are ‘very proud’ and would be offended by Biden’s generalization of cannibalism.

He explained how cannibalism was not practiced due to a lack of food, but instead as a sign of respect in very specific contexts – such as eating a deceased relative’s body to prevent it from decomposing.

‘But taking it out of context, and implying that your [uncle] jumps out of the plane and somehow we think it’s a good meal is unacceptable,’ he added …


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