Eulogy for Mark Fordham, a truly remarkable man

Issue 
'Jobs with justice' rally. Melbourne, October 29. Photo: Indymedia.org.au

Below is a eulogy to Mark Fordham, an Aboriginal activist and Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union member from the Northern Territory, released by: Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney; Brisbane Aboriginal Rights Coalition; UQ Students for Indigenous Rights; and Sydney University Anti-Racism Collective.

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Members of the above groups wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, loved ones and friends of our recently departed comrade Mark Fordham. Be assured that we share with you the grief and profound sense of loss resulting from the tragic passing of such a fine young man.

Active members of all the groups above had the pleasure of getting to know and admire Mark when he toured the East Coast to promote the Jobs with Justice campaign, speaking out against the broad swath of deplorable and discriminatory working conditions that Indigenous workers are subjected to under the Northern Territory Intervention.

Mark demonstrated great courage when he publicly condemned the dumping of raw sewage in the Ampilatwatja community, at no small cost to himself.

On his speaking tour in October last year, Mark used his experiences and insights, gathered as Works Manager at Ampilatwatja and as an Employment Officer in Ti Tree, to eloquently convey to hundreds of workers, on construction sites and wharves, inhuman conditions that none of them had experienced or could imagine having to tolerate.

Mark was particularly happy to talk to dock workers and made a point of stating that he had learned everything that he knew about unionism and its vital role in achieving social and economic justice from his days working on the wharves in Darwin.

Mark also addressed meetings of university students, Aboriginal rights organisations, community groups and major public rallies.

Throughout a very gruelling schedule Mark was tireless in his passionate desire to provide a voice for his community. In the cruelly short time that Mark was allocated, he made an enormous contribution to raising the consciousness of the wider public to the great inequities that continue to be perpetrated upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this country.

We vow to perpetuate Mark’s legacy by continuing the struggle for Aboriginal Rights.

There is no nobler endeavour than the fight for social justice and we deeply mourn the loss of our inspirational friend Mark Fordham, a truly noble man.

Rest in Peace.

‘Epitaph’

Weep not for me for Death is
but the vehicle that unites my soul
with the Creative Essence, God.
My spiritual Being, my love is
still with you, where ever you are
until forever.
You will find me in the quiet moments
in the trees, amidst the rocks,
the cloud and beams of sunshine
indeed, everywhere for I, too, am
a part of the total essence of
creation that radiates everywhere
about you, eternally.
Life, after all, is just a
passing phase.

- Kevin Gilbert

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