Peter Russo in The Argus — December 5, 1953
Riffing on a recent news item, Australian journalist and broadcaster Peter Russo (1908-1985) produced this jocular commentary, which ran in Melbourne’s The Argus newspaper.
The piece suggested half-seriously that Mossadegh’s challenge to wrestle his prosecutor should become a new trend in international affairs.
Russo’s column was wholly ripped off a week later by The Warwick Daily News — and not for the first time, either.
BEHIND THE NEWS By Peter Russo
RECENT international activities have taken a marked athletic turn.
Wrangle it out on mat
During his trial last week Dr. Mossadeq, former Prime Minister of Persia, interrupted a legal address in order to execute a brief war dance and challenge the Court chairman to a wrestling match.
Dr. Mossadeq simultaneously released the information that he was terrible when aroused, and that his form and vigor were superior to those of the chairman. Persia is a land of superb eccentrics, and it is reported that observers at the trial fretted when the chairman declined to take up the challenge.
Had they but known they could have referred to the significance of wrestling as lately demonstrated in government circles abroad. When he was elevated to the post of Speaker of the Japanese Diet, Mr. Yasujiro Tsutsumi celebrated with a personal exhibition of judo (jiu-jitsu) at a formal garden party.
THIS spirited and imaginative lead to democratic parliamentary processes could add much-needed color and vitality to official and parliamentary functions the world over.
The spectacle of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Archie Cameron, putting on the gloves for five fast rounds with a suitable opponent before the diplomatic corps at Government House, Canberra, would have undoubted attractions.
In the House itself, the Speaker could surely exercise greater restraint on turbulent members if, instead of threatening to name them, he were to roll out a wrestling mat and point to it ominously.
The only argument against the spread of this athletic innovation in public affairs would be that the contenders might not be suitably attired.
They would need to be dressed or equipped according to the form of competition they preferred. But this objection seems to have been admirably overcome by Dr. Donald Soper, the Church leader who scolded the Duke of Edinburgh for playing polo on Sundays when he should be swimming.
Dr. Soper has explained that he prepares for athletic eventualities on Sundays by wearing his swimsuit under his clothes.
Reluctantly, we confess that even this foresightedness could lead to confusion unless our public men were paired off according to an agreed type of skirmish.
Thus, it would be highly incongruous if, to make a point in the House, the hon. member for Wogalong were to strip down to his skimpy boxing trunks, while his opponent, the hon. member for Yahoora, were merely to remove his jacket and surge forward as a frog-man or paratrooper.
All in all the trend is satisfying, inasmuch as it may indicate a return to those worthwhile days when national leaders had to take the physical consequence of their decisions as well.
It would be a happier and more peaceful world if our international problems could be settled by individual foreign ministers—in eternal succession if need be — on the terms laid down by Dr. Mossadeq.
Mossy Come Home — The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 6, 1956
A Lenient Sentence — The Jamestown Post-Journal, December 23, 1953
Peter Russo probes the miseries of Mossadeq — January 19, 1952
MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”