Bye Bye, Keith
I’m afraid I have some sad news to impart. The Greens's Keith Locke is retiring. Sorry to have to break it to you.
Keith has a wasted life to look back on. A life spent backing some of the world’s nastiest horses. His departure will however help to Greenwash a Green Party struggling to keep the veneer on.
says a Keith hoping to get in early and write his own history.
Good try, but that’s frankly wishful thinking. Because he will be deservedly remembered instead as the MP who went to bat for Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime, about whose takeover Keith wrote a lead article for his April 1975 'Socialist Action rag with the banner heading: "Cambodia Liberated: Victory For Humanity"
Keith’s "liberators," of course, went on to kill most of the population and enslave the rest. A “victory for humanity” bought at the price of the death by government of 2,035,000 souls.
This was a regime about which there is nothing good to say, and nothing at all to cheer. A Cambodian friend told me that towards the end of the Pol Pot regime, when they began running out of bullets, Khmer Rouge troops were killing people with bamboo stakes instead. Such was the regime that 'liberated' Cambodia. [RJ Rummel has a 'Docudrama' from that fateful liberation to help give you some more context.]
Copies of that fateful April 1975 edition of Socialist Action in which Keith expressed his devotion to what would become one of the modern world’s most murderous regimes now change hands at enormous prices, as well they should. You can however find a copy in the Parliamentary Library now that is has been tabled in the House by Michael Cullen. [For the record, see Frog Blog's answer to the charge here. ]
But this love of “liberators” along similar lines is not out of character. As Trevor Loudon records,
In 1980 Keith Locke was a member of Socialist Action League National Committee. On February 23rd that year (Socialist Action March 14th) Keith Locke gave a talk in Wellington "Why workers should support Soviet Action in Afghanistan."
At the time, of course, all non-Maoist communists like Keith were required to slavishly follow the Soviet line. Keith, of course, now claims that he is older and wiser. Not so, however, as another revealing incident from 2001 demonstrates. Soon after the act of war that was September 11, Keith Locke spoke at a meeting in Rotorua on a platform with Annette Sykes, at a meeting called to protest the war against the Taleban. As Keith sat there smiling and nodding his head in agreement, Sykes told the audience (as transcribed by a member of that audience):
When I first saw the planes fly into the towers I jumped for joy, I was so happy that at long last capitalism was under attack. Until, it suddenly dawned on me, what about all those poor pizza delivery boys, those poor firemen, those poor policemen, those poor lift-operators, all those poor cleaners, all those other poor workers who are forced to work for and were trying to save those greedy and horrible capitalists!? My heart and head was so confused - happy that some capitalists had been killed and very, very sad for all those who had died while working for them.
Keith neither challenged nor questioned Sykes’s rant; instead he sat there and smiled and nodded and then led the applause when she finished. Nice chap. Good company he keeps. [I raised this matter on the Greens’s Frog Blog a few years back, at which time some discussion ensued.]
And the love of violence has not ceased. In 2007 he could be found supporting the activities of the Urewera 16, something even Martin Bradbury found too far beyond the pale to countenance. And as recently as 2008 Keith was writing for a publication glorifying Palestinian suicide bombers.
So if anyone is going to write Keith’s history as in his words, “a human rights watchdog and peace advocate,” they might care to remember these incidents. They might also like to refer to Trevor Loudon ‘s four-part series on the “peace advocate,” Keith Locke-A Wasted Life, Part1,Part2, Part 3, and Part 4 (Final for Now). Loudon concluded this 2005 four-parter with the observation that,
Keith Locke was born into a communist family and has fought for the cause ever since. He has wasted his life supporting some of the most murderous regimes and movements on the planet.
Too true. I trust the many eulogies that will now be written about the man will not fail to highlight this all-too salient point.
Here’s another billboard for Keith: