What We’re Following
Eyes on Syria: A photo of a 5-year-old boy, Omran Daqneesh, who was injured in an airstrike in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo has gone viral, drawing new attention to Syria’s ongoing civil war. The global reaction, however, seems limited to just that: attention. Those sharing the photo show little hope that world leaders will intervene in the crisis—and people inside Syria are losing hope as well.
Severed Ties: The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that federal inmates will no longer be housed in private prisons. The decision is based on a report that found private prisons have worse safety records than federal facilities and—with the government spending $639 million on private-prison contracts in 2013—they do not save taxpayers money. It’s an important step for a government struggling to address the nation’s mass incarceration crisis—but it will only affect about 11 percent of the people in federal custody, and questions remain about where the private prisons will next turn to fill their cells.
Reckoning With History: A 1999 rape case against the filmmaker Nate Parker resurfaced this week, along with news that the woman who accused Parker and his college roommate of raping her committed suicide in 2012. Parker was cleared of the charges in court and has expressed regret for his actions, leading some to argue that the media’s attention to the case is unnecessary—especially given Parker’s role as director, star, and producer of The Birth of a Nation, a forthcoming film about Nat Turner’s 1831 slave rebellion that marks a major step for diversity in Hollywood. But that’s the point, writes Gillian B. White: “The importance of works like this one, and the respect and admiration they afford individuals like Parker who break through longstanding barriers, make such scrutiny vital.”