James Porteous worked for 10 years as digital librarian for Al Jazeera English.
In viewing and archiving film footage from around the world he bore witness to an untold number of acts of violence, murder, mayhem and more.
As difficult as it was to watch these scenes, he was aware that ‘witnessing’ these events in the ‘digital world’ was essentially once removed from reality.
The real horrors were taking place in a real world with real people.
They were the ones struggling to survive the constant bombardment of outside forces. They were being attacked by people who had no legal or moral reason to bomb or kill or starve them.
Many years have passed, but the fog of democracy has allowed the battle to continue being fought with impunity. It is hidden from TV cameras and op-ed pages and the very bluescreens that never leave our hands.
The Fog of Democracy is a culmination of the things Porteous saw during those years, and in the wars and near-wars since.
It is also a homage – or is it a remembrance?- to the lost, the homeless and the marginalized, those lives that were destroyed simply because the victims happened to be born in the wrong place – whether in the West or beyond- at the wrong time.
Their lives and dreams can be seen in the characters of Those Left Behind. They know nothing of our world or the fog that shrouds our so-called democracy. They live in a world of barrel-bombs and jet fighters and destruction. They know very well who is responsible for the deaths of their sons and daughters and mothers and fathers.
And so do we.