Body Hack documentary-maker Todd Sampson appeared on The Project last night to promote the latest instalment in a series that has purported to examine how humanity – really, Sampson himself – copes in trying places and situations. The newest episode sees him in the Gaza Strip, whose population, he argues, is “under siege.” First reviews from Waleed Aly and Lisa Wilkinson were adulatory. Which is a red flag in its own right.
Sampson claims that initially he went to Gaza to spend time with “first responders” (the dumb new term for medics) but a helpful local “fixer” unexpectedly invited him to the weekly “protest” where he is shocked by the gas canisters and gunfire. He and his crew dutifully record all that the “protesters” endure after Friday prayers. Sampson’s remarkably accommodating stringer then arranges for him to attend a hospital where thousands of gun-shot wounds are treated every year, many of those children’s. He watches and is permitted to film the most bloody and harrowing surgeries (including amputations). In addition to being one of the vainglorious ‘how does he do it? moments that are a staple in the Sampson oeuvre (he sees himself as the Keith Richards of self-administered distress), the segment serves as golden propaganda for the Palestinian ‘authorities’ behind the scenes.
But the most troubling stunt was Sampson’s secret night-time meeting with members of the exterminationist terror group, Islamic Jihad – whose honesty Sampson praised on The Project. The goofy commando footage and verbal exchanges show the lads were putting on a show of – I guess – force. The sequencing is everything: Israel shoots brave protesters, brave protesters lose their legs, Islamic Jihad (upper or lower case) is the result. Sampson expresses amazement that he was allowed to stay in Gaza for three weeks when the average Joe is lucky to be allowed in for three days. Indeed. The Palestinians were exceedingly, strangely generous. And their ability to arrange an amiable get-together with murderers was also above and beyond. Steve Price asked Sampson whether he was still “not picking sides” – as, apparently, he claimed he wouldn’t do at the outset. “Ah, I – I feel incredible empathy for the people of Palestine,” he replied. For the Gazans, then, another well-curated production.
UPDATE: Sampson lamely claims to be receiving Jewish “death threats.”