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How Much Can the Human Spirit Endure in Isolation?

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April in Washington, D.C., is normally the month of nature’s renewal—and my favorite—for the pastel blossoms of azaleas and tulips, the shades of green in new grass, the warming temperatures, and the soft light that lingers into evening. This spring, the window is the prism of human existence—looking through the glass and waiting for the pestilence to pass. From my window, I can see a pear tree shedding white flowers to make way for sprouting leaves. Little else is happening on the other side of the pane. As eerie as this spring has already been, Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned on Sunday that this week will be “the hardest and saddest” in most Americans’ lives. “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized. It’s going to be happening all over the country,” he said, on Fox News.

I began to wonder how much the human spirit can endure—and for how long. We’re only in the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, with a second wave expected in the fall. “Catastrophizing is really bad for your mental health,” Samuel Paul Veissière, a co-director of the Culture, Mind and Brain Program at McGill University, told me. “You bring depression into being by worrying. And that has an impact on quality of life and immune functions.” To circumvent the numbing fear of becoming the next numeral in a running tally of cases, I started playing a mental game—identifying the people I’ve known or covered who were imprisoned, isolated, or banished in far worse conditions. Covering the world’s wars and political hellholes, there have been many—some famous, many little-known. Each of their stories reaffirmed what humans are capable of bearing—and eventually overcoming.

In the nineteen-seventies, I covered the apartheid era in South Africa, where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated in a damp concrete cell on Robben Island, a former leper colony converted into a prison. “I could walk the length of my cell in three paces,” Mandela recalled, in his autobiography. “When I lay down, I could feel the wall with my feet and my head grazed the concrete at the other side. The width was about six feet. That small cramped space was to be my home for I knew not how long.” Mandela’s prism on the world was a small window with six bars but little to see. Robben Island was five miles off the coast. He didn’t have access, as we do now, to newspapers, telephones, and a television. He once wrote the warden begging for pajamas that only white prisoners received. After his wife was arrested, in 1969, he wrote his children, “For long you may live like orphans.” In 1988, he developed tuberculosis, another highly contagious airborne virus. Mandela was imprisoned for twenty-seven years; he was seventy-two when he made his famous walk to freedom. He went on to re-create a nation and win the Nobel Peace Prize. I saw him twice after he was elected President, in 1994. He was never self-indulgent about his confinement, the conditions of life during isolation, the separation from family and society—or his disease. He endured, brilliantly.

In 1992, exactly twenty-eight years ago this week, I flew with Elie Wiesel to the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, an annual conference held in the Midwest to honor the laureates and highlight human rights. Wiesel had won the Nobel six years earlier. Wiesel was a child when his family was confined, first in Auschwitz, where his mother and younger sister were killed, then in Buchenwald, during the Second World War. There’s a haunting picture of Wiesel packed with other men and boys on wooden planks, shelves, really, that were stacked in four rows on top of each other, floor to ceiling, in Buchenwald. The men were all skeletal. They had no windows to the outside world.

My father fought to liberate Ohrdruf, a subcamp of Buchenwald and the first Nazi camp seized by the U.S. Army, in April of 1945. I still have his letter to my mother about the horrors he found. On our flight, Wiesel and I talked about our fathers’ experiences in the camp. He told me a longer version of what he recounted about his father’s fate when Elie returned to Buchenwald, in 2009. “The day he died was one of the darkest in my life. He became sick, weak, and I was there,” he said. “I was there when he asked for help, for water. I was there to receive his last words. But I was not there when he called for me, although we were in the same block; he on the upper bed and I on the lower bed. He called my name, and I was too afraid to move. All of us were. And then he died. I was there, but I was not there.” Wiesel was sixteen when Buchenwald was liberated. He came out of his imprisonment an orphan, a pauper, and stateless. Yet he survived another seventy years, wrote remarkable books, lectured around the world, and became a living reminder of the Holocaust. He made his life a testament to the human spirit.

In 2017, I met Mansour Omari, a Syrian journalist who chronicled the Assad regime’s arrests and human-rights abuses during its ruthless crackdown on Arab Spring protesters—until Omari, too, was arrested, in 2012. He was locked up in a filthy underground cell with so little space inside that the prisoners—the number in his cell fluctuated from sixty to more than eighty—took turns sitting, standing, squatting or sleeping. They shared a single toilet and a sewer hole to defecate—with no toilet paper. Bugs and mites were pervasive; cases of scabies were common. “The smell was unbelievable,” Omari told me. “People were, almost all of them, sick. All of them had blisters or wounds. It’s infections that eat your flesh so quickly.” Omari lost seventy-five pounds. Prisoners used salt to treat each other’s wounds after beatings or torture. “This is how we healed each other,” Omari said. “Sometimes it worked. Sometimes not.”

Omari’s cell had no windows. The prisoners had no communication with the outside world. Many of their families didn’t know where they were—or even if they were alive. Omari came up with a scheme to write the names of the prisoners—using a quill fashioned from a chicken bone and ink blended from rust chipped from the cell bars and blood squeezed from the gums of prisoners diseased by malnutrition. With no paper, they wrote the names on small strips of cloth torn from a shirt. The prisoners wrote eighty-two names on the strips of cloth and then sewed them into the collar and cuff of a single shirt—using a sliver of chicken bone as a needle. Whoever got out first would wear the shirt and be responsible for informing the other prisoners’ families. Omari was the first one summoned for transfer. He wore the shirt—only to be sent to one prison, and then another. The names began to fade from moisture and perspiration; half the names were lost. After he was finally released, Omari fled to Turkey, then Sweden. I met him in 2017, when the little blood-stained cloths were exhibited at the Holocaust Museum, in Washington. He told me that he managed to reach thirty of the families of the men imprisoned with him in Syria. Three of the five in the group that assembled the list of names—including the tailor who sewed the strips back into the shirt—died in jail.

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Love Island 2020’s Callum and Molly share update on relationship

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Love Island 2020 duo Callum Jones and Molly Smith are finally official.

The reality stars left the villa back in February, but during a recent chat with OK! magazine, Callum revealed that they have only taken the next step in their relationship over the last few weeks.

“We are boyfriend and girlfriend now,” confirmed the 23-year-old ex-scaffolder.

ITV

Related: Love Island‘s Laura Whitmore on taking over hosting the show: “This isn’t how I want to get to do it”

But how did they come to realise they’re now officially official?

“What it was is, I said to her, ‘We’re courting’. She said, ‘Courting? That means we’re together.’ And I said, ‘Oh does it?’ And she said, ‘Yeah’.

“I was like, ‘Alright then’, and she was like, ‘Are you asking me to be your girlfriend?’, and I was like, ‘Yeah’. And that’s how it come about.”

love island episode 24

ITV

Related: Love Island‘s Wes Nelson and Arabella Chi split after nine months

Pretty straightforward then, but it’s nice to hear they’re still going strong.

Earlier today (May 4), it was confirmed that Love Island‘s summer 2020 series will not be going ahead, due to the current pandemic.

Kevin Lygo, Director of Television at ITV, said: “We have tried every which way to make Love Island this summer but logistically it’s just not possible to produce it in a way that safeguards the wellbeing of everyone involved and that for us is the priority.”

Love Island is scheduled to return this summer on ITV2, and you can catch up on the show via ITV Hub.



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Originally posted 2020-05-04 15:31:44.

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The Boys Season 2 Release Date, Cast, Plot, Trailer And Everything You Need To Know

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Hooray, The Boys are here! Amazon original science-fiction live-action series, The Boys aired back in 2019.

Before even the first season made it on the Amazon platforms, it was renewed for a second installment. The success of the show is a massive one, seeing the eccentric portrayal of superheroes.

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The pilot is more than enough to keep you hooked, and you can barely see the time pass as you watch the first eight episodes of season one.

It is a story loaded with sarcasm and skepticism, rather than to win over the viewers with identification or emotions. The inspiring characters show the dark side of superheroes credibly and surprisingly.

What Do We Know About The Release Date?

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According to an Instagram post of November 6, 2019, by Karl Urban, playing the lead role of Billy Butcher, the filming of the show was all done with it:

Cut and print!🤪 That’s a wrap for Billy Butcher on season 2 of @theboystv. Massive thanks to our awesome Crew n cast, love you all. 💥The Boys 2💥 On yer telle Mid 2020 #gonefishing🎣 😎💗

Eric Kripke, showrunner of Supernatural and The Boys, wrote on his Twitter handle regarding on the update on the upcoming season:

And, I’m hard at work (remotely) on #Season2. Here are a few shots! @KarlUrban @antonystarr @TheBoysTV #TheBoys #SPNFamily pic.twitter.com/rHnw0REsIx

— Eric Kripke (@therealKripke) March 22, 2020

Seeing the completed filming, we can expect the second part to hit our screens in mid-2020. The show is currently in its post-production stage.

Any Trailer Yet?

Yes, thankfully, an official trailer was released on December 6, 2019, on the official YouTube account of Prime Video UK. And, since then, it has scored a total of over 3 million views.

There are no updates regarding the admission of fresh faces. But, here is a list of a line-up based on the previous season:

  • Karl Urban as Billy Butcher
  • Jack Quaid as Hughie Campbell
  • Anthony Starr as Homelander
  • Erin Moriarty as Annie January 
  • Dominique McElligott as Queen Maeve, and so on

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Originally posted 2020-05-04 03:47:50.

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Spider-Man actually solved time travel in Avengers: Endgame

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Spider-Man might have been a pile of dust for most of Avengers: Endgame, but he actually played a bigger role than you’d think.

After the movie’s surprise five-year time jump, the remaining Avengers start to look to time travel to bring everyone back. Smart Hulk doesn’t have the knowledge though, so they need Tony Stark’s help and he doesn’t seem to want to do it.

Marvel Studios

Related: Avengers: Endgame theory makes it even more heartbreaking

He’s left the superhero life and living peacefully with Pepper and their daughter Morgan, so Tony doesn’t want to potentially mess it up by playing around with time – something he doesn’t think is possible anyway.

And yet, over one night, Tony manages to create time travel, but really, we should be thanking Spider-Man instead.

tom holland as spider man in avengers endgame

Marvel Studios

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Before Tony solves the time travel problem (and after he bizarrely dries plates before putting them on the washing-up rack), he looks at a picture of himself with Peter Parker and a fake Stark Industries certificate.

Shortly after this, Tony decides to have one last try at the time travel simulation, seemingly because of the guilt he felt over Peter’s death in Avengers: Infinity War.

But there’s a key detail you might have overlooked.

avengers endgame, peter parker, tom holland, spider man

Marvel Studios

ScreenRant suggests that the fact that Peter is holding the Stark Industries certificate upside-down is the reason why Tony is able to solve the timey-wimey conundrum.

“I’ve got a mild inspiration. I’d like to see it if checks out. So, I’d like to run one last sim before we pack it in for the night. This time in the shape of a Möbius strip, inverted please,” Tony tells Friday after this moment.

He says a few other science-y bits, but the main change is inverting the Möbius strip like Peter did for his certificate.

And given the timing, it seems that the “mild inspiration” could well be that certificate. Lo and behold, turning it upside-down worked and the rest is history.

iron man avengers endgame, snap

Marvel Studios

Related: A major Avengers plot hole about Thanos has finally been resolved

We’re sure time travel is more complicated than just looking at it upside-down, but they did have a time heist to get on with.

So, technically, this also means that Spider-Man is inadvertently responsible for Tony’s eventual sacrifice to save the world.

Sorry about that.

Avengers: Endgame is out now on DVD, Blu-ray, 3D, 4K and digital download, and is available on Disney+.


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Originally posted 2020-05-01 06:05:44.

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