The Art of the Australian Insult


“How dare you undermine our intelligence?”

ABC Radio  National’s Saturday Extra featured this extraordinary exchange between interviewer Geraldine Doogue and the Zimbabwean movement for Democratic Change’s Arthur Mutambara:

Mutambara: Who are you? How dare you undermine our intelligence? How dare you, you are so racist to the extent that you can’t guarantee us, give us the respect, the vote of confidence that we can make our own decisions.

Geraldine Doogue: Well, let …

Mutambara: You are collectively stupid …

Doogue: Let me …

Mutambara: … collective foolishness. We won’t allow Australia to judge our agreement. It’s none of your business.

Doogue: Let me bring up the issue of the …

Mutambara: I haven’t finished. Shame on you for expressing no confidence in Morgan Tsvangirai. Shame on you for expressing no confidence in Mugabe. Shame on you for expressing no confidence in Mutambara. We will not brook that nonsense.

Doogue: Is it possible that you or Mr Tsvangirai could be walking into a trap as Joshua Nkomo did in the ’80s, where it looked like a power-sharing agreement and in fact as you know …

Mutambara: I have a question. Do you think I am stupid? When you ask that question you think we are foolish and we are very offended that you think we are that stupid. We are smarter than the Australians. We are smarter than the Americans. We went to better schools than most of these leaders in America, in Britain and in Australia. I am coming out of Oxford. None of your prime ministers can challenge me intellectually. So how do you patronise me and tell me that I’m going to be hoodwinked by Mugabe.

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