TIME Hungary

Hungary Reopens Budapest Train Station to Stranded Refugees After Two Days

Migrants in Budapest Keleti railway station
Arpad Kurucz—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Migrants protest outside Keleti station in central Budapest on September 2, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.

But services to Western Europe are canceled pending the outcome of parliamentary discussions

After a two-day standoff that kept 2,000 migrants out of the Keleti Railway Terminus, Hungarian authorities finally reopened the entrances to Budapest’s central train station early Thursday — prompting hundreds of them to flood in and throng waiting trains.

Complete pandemonium reigned as desperate refugees shoved children through open carriage windows in the hope of gaining passage to Germany, Reuters reported.

However, signs in Hungarian announced that all trains to Western Europe had been canceled, while the Hungarian parliament held an unscheduled parliament session to debate solutions to its rapidly escalating role in the European Union’s refugee crisis.

The rush onto the platforms marked the end of a tense couple of days during which hundreds of migrants, mainly from the Middle East and northern Africa, were stranded in the square outside the railway station after Hungary allowed thousands through on Monday but then decided to stop them from traveling further into Europe.

In a repeat of the previous day’s events, around 300 migrant protesters continued their cries of “Freedom, freedom!” as they demanded to be let into the Keleti Railway Terminus to board trains for Austria and Germany.

Hungarian authorities closed the station to the asylum-seeking refugees on Tuesday despite letting thousands board trains earlier, and evacuated them from the station into the square outside. Hungarians with valid ID and foreigners with passports were allowed to proceed into the station as usual.

Many of the hundreds of thousands of migrants that have flooded into Europe after crossing the Mediterranean Sea are making a beeline for countries like Germany, which announced earlier that it would grant asylum to Syrian refugees. The announcement came despite a European Union rule called the Dublin Regulation, which states that refugees must stay in the European country of their initial arrival until their asylum claims are processed.

Traveling across Europe without proper documentation is also against E.U. law, a law Hungarian authorities cited as justification for barring the migrants from boarding trains despite many having bought tickets.

“A train ticket does not overwrite E.U. rules,” government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said.

Germany, Italy and France called for a revision of those rules in a joint declaration, saying that there should be a “fair distribution” of migrants across the continent, according to the BBC. As Europe struggles to deal with the sudden influx of migrants fleeing violent conflict and crippling poverty, however, its countries remain divided over a solution.

Hungary, which has become a flashpoint for the migrant crisis after the past week’s incidents, has responded by erecting a barbed wire fence on its border with Serbia from which many are entering, and may also employ limited use of its army at the border.

“The rhetoric of the Hungarian government has demonized certain groups of people in order to generate fear and thus justify security measures, such as the potential intervention of the army at the Hungarian-Serbian border,” the group Migration Aid, which has been assisting migrants throughout the summer, said in a statement.

Read next: Which Word Should You Use: Refugee or Migrant?

TIME faith

Here’s What America Thinks of Pope Francis

A pair of studies show that Pope Francis is popular, perhaps because of his willingness to address social issues

Pope Francis is a popular pope.

A poll released Thursday from Quinnipiac University found that 66% of Americans have either a “favorable” or “very favorable” view of the Pope, who arrives in America in late September.

The Pope’s popularity crosses wide—and often surprising—swaths of American society. While it might not come as a shock that 87% of Catholics are fans of the Pope, 61% of Protestants and 63% of people who follow “no religion” count themselves as Francis fans.

“Pope Francis is sparking a resurgent confidence in the Catholic Church as more Catholics, Protestants and those with no religion believe the Vatican is steering The Church in the right direction,” Tim Malloy, assistant director of the poll, said in a statement.

Pope Francis’s leadership of the Catholic Church has presented a clear gender divide, with women in favor of the pontiff more than men. While 69% of female respondents had positive views of Pope Francis, 63% of males felt the same.

The poll found that 76% of Catholic women felt the Catholic Church was moving in the right direction, compared to 62% of Catholic men. The gender divide played out again when adult Catholics were asked if church leaders were in touch with modern American Catholics: 57% of women felt so, compared to 47% of men.

The poll’s results come a day after the Pew Research Center released a survey of the changing state of American Catholicism. While 9 out of ten American Catholics believe a household headed by married heterosexual parents is ideal, growing segments of the faith are willing to accept non-traditional families—whether they be unmarried heterosexuals, gay or lesbian couples, single parents, or divorced individuals.

The Pew study points to an American Catholicism that is much more flexible than ever before and has embraced Pope Francis—whose popularity among even ex-Catholics and those who consider themselves “cultural” Catholics is strong (at 59% and 73%, respectively). Francis’ liberal bent and willingness to address contemporary social issues like gay marriage, abortion, poverty, and climate change have made him an icon that transcends the religion. And within the faith, Catholics believe the Church must address these issues, with overwhelming majorities saying the Catholic Church should allow for birth control and acceptance of divorce.

Much of this support for the Church’s direction come from Millennials, with older generations—particularly those in the 65-and-over bracket—being much more reluctant to bending from conservative views. But Catholics are increasingly positive that by 2050, the Church will change its views on contraception, cohabitation, and maybe even gay marriage, respondents said.

Read next: The Top 4 Misconceptions About Pope Francis

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TIME India

A Village Council in India Denies Issuing an Order for the Rape of Two Sisters

Kumari adjusts her headgear as she sits inside her lawyer's chamber in New Delhi
Anindito Mukherjee—Reuters Meenakshi Kumari, 23, one of the two sisters allegedly threatened with rape by a village council in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, adjusts her headgear as she sits inside her lawyer's chamber in New Delhi on Sept. 1, 2015

Many aspects of the case have since been called into question

A village council in India that caused a global outrage over reports that it had ordered two sisters to be raped as punishment for their brother’s actions has denied it ever issued such an order.

Family members of the two women from a village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh have also expressed uncertainty over the ruling, Reuters reports.

“It’s all hearsay, we don’t know if this actually happened,” the women’s father Dharam Pal Singh, a 55-year-old former soldier, told Reuters. “We heard it from other villagers.”

The women — 23-year-old Meenakshi Kumari and her 15-year-old sister — had allegedly been sentenced by the all-male, upper-caste khap panchayat (as unelected village councils in parts of India are known) to be paraded naked with blackened faces and then raped.

The punishment was detailed in a petition to the Supreme Court last month, filed on the sisters’ behalf by a lawyer. The petition said they were threatened by the council and fled to New Delhi after their brother, who belongs to the low-ranking Dalit caste, eloped with a married woman of a higher caste.

The lawyer, Rahul Tyagi, clarified to Reuters that he had not actually been to the village or spoken to any members of the supposed council that issued the rape sentence, but said he had “documentary evidence for 9 out of 10 things in the case.”

It has also since emerged that the supposedly all-male council is actually over 80% female and led by a woman.

The elder sister admitted that she didn’t know if the council had formally called for the rape but says she fled because it was the tendency of such village communities to persecute women.

“It is very tough life for women,” Kumari said, adding that she first heard of the sentence against her and her sister from their father. “These things can happen.”

Amnesty International, whose online petition to save the two women was signed by more than 250,000 people, said they would not rescind their petition despite the latest developments.

“We will continue to push for protection for the family,” Amnesty India women’s-rights campaigner Gopika Bashi said.

Several details on the case remain terribly murky, however, with more than 20 interviews conducted within the village by Reuters containing conflicting information.

“How many times do I have to tell you there was no meeting?” said Bala Devi, who has headed the council for the past five years. “We spend our time discussing mundane things like fixing the roads or water pumps.”



The World’s Next Superpower Announces Itself With an Epic Parade

Beijing flexes its muscle with an impressive display to commemorate the 70th anniversary of its World War II victory over Japan

There are few places in the world better suited for spectacle than the vast expanse of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. On Sept. 3, in a grand military parade marking the 70th anniversary of Japan’s official surrender in World War II, 11 phalanxes of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers strutted through the heart of China, taking what viewers had been told would be exactly 128 steps, each stride a perfect 75 cm.

Separately, guards of the national flag measured out 121 paces, each foot forward representing the number of years since 1894, when imperial Japan began to carve up Chinese territory until its defeat in 1945. Above, air-guard formations rendered a perfect 70 in the sky, marking the seven decades since Japan’s official surrender in World War II. Fifty-six cannons were rolled out, one for each of China’s official ethnic groups. The PLA band and chorus provided the syncopation, a drumbeat of 112 measures per minute. Training for the martial pageantry had been carried out with such dedication that, in the run-up to the parade, the 50 generals who were leading the foot formations lost an average of 11 lb., according to Chinese state media.

It was, for the casual observer sitting in Tiananmen Square on Thursday morning, under a flawlessly blue sky, difficult to judge the split-second accuracy of all the goose-stepping in China’s largest military parade in nearly half a century. Did each soldier’s stride measure exactly 75 cm? Were the tubas tooting in proper time? But the overall effect of 12,000 synchronized troops, 500 pieces of military equipment, some 200 aircraft overhead — not to mention nearly 1,000 foreign representatives from 17 countries who had joined the martial pageantry — was undeniable: once devastated by more than a century of foreign occupation and humiliation, most recently by the Japanese during World War II, China had transformed into a world-class economic, military and marching power.

No longer were China’s soldiers outfitted in the ragged clothes of the communist guerrillas, or, more likely, that of their rival Nationalists who did the bulk of the fighting against the Japanese. (The Kuomintang, or Nationalists, retreated to Taiwan in 1949 after losing the civil war to Chairman Mao Zedong’s communist forces.) The soldiers were not only sharply uniformed but arranged so that they all appeared the same height. New fighter jets soared ahead, streaming pastel-hued contrails, and the latest in ballistic-missile technology rolled past. Chinese state media said that 84% of the military hardware on display had been unveiled for the parade. “You can never exaggerate the power of a strong military,” Chinese military analyst Gao Feng tells TIME. “We Chinese have learned that we must have a strong army to protect our sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Presiding over the martial liturgy was Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, chairman of the Central Military Commission and President of China — his titles in descending order of importance. Since taking power in Nov. 2012, Xi , whose father was a communist revolutionary hero (against the Chinese Nationalists, not the Japanese), has consolidated power rapidly. Perhaps in a sign of his authority, the Sept. 3 military display broke tradition as the first major procession not to take place on Oct. 1, the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. This was Xi’s parade.

In his opening speech, Xi vowed to trim the PLA by 300,000 forces in order to make it a meaner, leaner fighting force. (China is embroiled in territorial disputes with various neighbors, particularly in the South China Sea.) Some of the rest of his words were a pastiche of the various slogans and catchphrases of previous generations of Communist leaders. The homage was personally directed: gathered on the Tiananmen rostrum above Chairman Mao’s portrait were not only the current members of China’s seven-man standing committee, which steers the nation, but also Xi’s predecessors Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, along with former Premiers Wen Jiabao, Zhu Rongji and Li Peng. The appearance of Jiang provoked a gasp from the audience at Tiananmen, not only because he was well enough to attend the parade at 89 years old but also because Xi’s massive anticorruption campaign has netted many of Jiang’s acolytes.

Also surveying the troops, tanks and aircraft were 30 world leaders — most from authoritarian nations or states with strong economic and ideological ties to China. Russia’s Vladimir Putin, whose country suffered as terribly during World War II as China did, was the most prominent head of state to accept Xi’s invitation. As the only other leader from one of the wartime Allied Powers to join the festivities, Putin was honored with the anchor position in a meet-and-greet with Xi. Most Western nations declined to send top-ranked representatives. But the gathered crowds cheered for South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who has brought her country closer to China. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Egypt’s Abdul Fattah al-Sisi also attended, along with political sympathizers like Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, who secured lucrative oil loans with Beijing in the run-up to the parade.

Perhaps the most notorious VIP was alleged war criminal Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the Sudanese President who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of masterminding genocide. During their meeting in Beijing before the parade, Xi greeting al-Bashir as “an old friend,” and China has supplied weapons to Sudan. The U.S., by contrast, sent its ambassador to China, Max Baucus.

Chinese state media stressed that the Sept. 3 event — initiated this year as a public holiday called the Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of Victory of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and World Anti-Fascist War — would help the world “pursue peace.” In his speech, Xi proclaimed that “we Chinese love peace,” before heading off in a sun-roofed car to inspect the troops. Soon came the procession of tanks, their low rumble echoing a time 26 years ago when a lone protester stood up against a column of tanks before disappearing from history. Then the audience was treated to a march of missiles, including the much hyped Dongfeng (East Wind) 21-D, a never-before-seen hypersonic ballistic weapon that could target aircraft carriers and potentially force the U.S. Navy to rethink its reliance on such large ships.

In the viewing stands at Tiananmen, elderly gentlemen with chests full of medals mixed with young ethnic minorities wearing the distinctive costumes and hats that they are encouraged to wear during official events. Occasional children wandered by, including an 8-year-old girl named Mandy Li. “Today is a day to remember how much we hate the Japanese,” she said, as she walked along Tiananmen Square’s western perimeter. “Now we will show the world how strong China is.” Chinese textbooks emphasize the atrocities committed by Japanese during World War II, and in recent days the airwaves and newspapers have been jammed with tales of imperial Japan’s brutality. Japanese invaders killed 2.2 million Chinese soldiers, readers of state media were reminded, and imperial Japanese soldiers even raped and killed new mothers. China estimates that 35 million citizens died or were injured during the war.

After the display of military might, the Beijing parade shifted gear to the kind of paean to peace that is more common in some other countries’ war remembrances. Exactly 70,000 doves were released in the air, in honor of pacific sentiment, followed by a confetti of multicolored balloons. If the focus on the parade had been more doves and less goose-stepping, then perhaps more nations would have joined in. But as much as Xi may want to play to an international audience, the Sept. 3 show was primarily for the Chinese people. At a time of economic slowdown in China, patriotism may help the Chinese leader unite the masses. “So cool,” gasped a Beijing academic in the viewing stand as the so-called “carrier killer” Dongfeng 21-D missile rolled past. “Nobody can boss us around now.”

With reporting by Gu Yongqiang / Beijing

Read next: China Parades New ‘Carrier-Killer’ Missile as its Navy Cases Alaska

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TIME Malaysia

Boat With 100 Migrants Capsizes Off Malaysia

A dozen people have been rescued so far, and several bodies have been recovered by fishermen

(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) — A wooden boat carrying about 100 migrants heading to Indonesia has capsized off Malaysia’s western coast, the country’s maritime agency said Thursday, adding there were an unknown number of fatalities.

Agency official Mohamad Hambali Yaakup said 12 people have been rescued so far, and several bodies have been recovered by fishermen but he could not give further details.

He said the boat sank Thursday morning in bad sea conditions not far from the coast and several vessels and an aircraft were searching for survivors.

Mohamad Hambali said the boat was believed to have taking migrant workers home to Tanjung Balai in Indonesia’s Sumatra province and that it was likely to have been overcrowded when it sank.

Such incidents are common in Malaysia, which has up to 2 million Indonesian migrants working illegally in the country.

The Indonesians work without legal permits in plantations and other industries in Malaysia, and often travel between the countries by crossing the narrow Strait of Malacca in poorly equipped boats.


13 Million Middle Eastern Children Are Unable to Attend School

Mideast Out Of School
Muhammed Muheisen—AP In this Aug. 11, 2015, file photo, Syrian refugee children attend a class at a makeshift school set up in a tent at an informal settlement near the Syrian border on the outskirts of Mafraq, Jordan. Forty percent of children from five conflict-scarred Middle Eastern countries are not in school, the U.N. child-welfare agency said in a report on Sept. 3, 2015

At least 8,500 schools are unusable, and millions of people have been displaced

Ongoing conflicts across the Middle East have prevented more than 13 million children from attending school, according to a report published Thursday by UNICEF, the U.N.’s Children’s Fund.

The report states that 40% of all children across the region are currently not receiving an education, a crisis it attributes to two repercussions of violence: the displacement of populations and structural damages to the schools themselves. Both issues stem from the tide of violence that has crossed the region in recent years.

The report examines nine countries — Syria, Palestine, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan — where a state of war has become the norm. Across the region, violence has rendered 8,500 schools unusable. In certain cases, communities have relied on school buildings to function as makeshift shelters for the displaced, with up to nine families living in a single classroom in former schools across Iraq.

The document’s authors pay particularly close attention to Syria, where a bloody civil war has displaced at least 9 million people since the war began in 2011.

“With the crisis now in its fifth year, basic public services inside Syria — including education — have been stretched to breaking point,” the report reads.

Within the country, the quality and availability of education depends on whether the relevant region is suffering violence — a reliably unpredictable metric. In states nearby, which have steadily received streams of Syrian refugees, governments “have shown generosity towards Syrian children,” but “the demands have far outstretched their limited resources.”

Fifty-three percent of Syrian refugee children whose families have fled to nearby host countries — specifically Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt — are currently out of school.

The report concludes with an entreaty to international policymakers to apportion financial and other resources to the regional crisis.

“With more than 13 million children already driven from classrooms by conflict, it is no exaggeration to say that the educational prospects of a generation of children are in the balance,” it reads. “The forces that are crushing individual lives and futures are also destroying the prospects for an entire region.”

TIME Thailand

Thai Police Name New Suspect Connected to Bangkok Bombing

Bangkok shrine explosion
Athit Perawongmetha—Reuters Experts investigate the Erawan shrine at the site of a deadly blast in central Bangkok, on Aug. 18, 2015.

He is believed to be the Turkish husband of Thai suspect Wanna Suansan

Thai police have named an eighth suspect in connection with the bombing of the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok on Aug. 17, which killed 20 people and injured more than 120 others.

An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for Emrah Davutoglu, a Turkish man believed to be the husband of Thai suspect Wanna Suansan, police spokesperson Prawut Thavornsiri said Wednesday, reports CNN.

Davutoglu has been charged with possession of war materials without permission, but police have not elaborated on his alleged involvement.

Twenty-six-year-old Wanna, a Muslim Thai national from the country’s southern Phang Nga province, is wanted by police because authorities say they have linked her to the apartment where bombmaking materials were allegedly found. The woman, who CNN reports is believed to be in Turkey, has denied any involvement in the blasts and says she moved out of the apartment one year ago.

Meanwhile authorities arrested a foreign man believed to be the prime suspect in the bombing at the Thai-Cambodian border on Tuesday.


TIME ebola

200 People Are to Be Vaccinated in Sierra Leone After Ebola Death

The country had begun a 42-day countdown to being declared Ebola-free

The World Health Organization is to begin vaccinating about 200 people in Sierra Leone who came into contact with a woman who died from Ebola on Saturday.

The woman, a 67-year-old from the Kambia district near the border with Guinea, died just five days after the country discharged its last known Ebola patient from hospital, reports Reuters. Sierra Leone had begun a 42-day countdown to being declared Ebola-free — the last reported case of the disease being on Aug. 8.

“We will vaccinate those … who came into direct contact with the deceased and those contacts they also came into close contact with,” said WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris.

The head of the National Ebola Response Center in Sierra Leone, Pallo Conteh, said more Ebola cases in the country are likely to be reported.

Ebola experts are still investigating the source of transmission and have appealed to the niece of the woman to come forward as she was at high risk.

Last year’s deadly outbreak infected more than 28,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and killed more than 11,300.


TIME Japan

Japan’s Kamikaze Museum Holds Poignant Lessons on the Value of Peace

The interior of the Chiran Peace Museum, showing doomed pilots before their departure

Somber reflections on the last days of the Pacific War at the 'Chapel of the Thunder Gods'

In recent weeks, all across Asia there have been countless ceremonies, somber and solemn, to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II in the Pacific. This titanic struggle officially came to a close on the battered, sunbaked deck of the U.S.S. battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, with the Japanese military signing their surrender papers on Sept. 2, 1945.

Tokyo’s defeat is being marked today in Beijing, where a massive military parade commemorates the 70th anniversary of what is known as the Victory of Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. Far away, in the sleepy rural town of Chiran, in Japan’s lush southern prefecture of Kagoshima, another, far quieter ceremony has been held. Its location? The little-known Chiran Peace Museum.

The museum, known locally as Tokko Ihinkan (or Chapel of the Thunder Gods), is located at the end of a long row of pretty white birch trees. Two white pillars at the entrance, and a gently arched grey-tiled roof, give the building the look of a chapel. The grounds are covered with white gravel and landscaped with scores of cherry trees, pensive pines and Japanese maples, the latter running deep red in the autumn months.

In fact, the Chiran Peace Museum is dedicated to Japan’s kamikaze pilots — the thousands of young men, most of them in their late teens or early 20s, who accepted certain death by flying their explosive-laden planes into approaching American warships, in the name of national honor. In the final months of World War II, these young suicide pilots were trained to destroy approaching American ships by flying directly into them.

In an attempt to boost morale, Japanese military commanders (themselves tucked safely away in bunkers in distant Tokyo) proclaimed the young pilots “thunder gods,” declaring that after the thunderous explosion of their airlines, the young men would become divine spirits. Japan’s imperial command also bestowed on the fliers the term kamikaze — divine wind — a reference to the fierce typhoon winds that saved Japan from attacking Mongol fleets in the 13th century.

Inside the museum are a number of World War II Japanese aircraft. But what catches the eye of most visitors are the many spotless display cases that hold such kamikaze artifacts left behind: notebooks, goggles, diaries, wristwatches and handmade dolls given to the pilots by female relatives. Lining the museum’s walls are hundreds of black-and-white photos of the young pilots, each with a name and date of death, in the order that they died. One of the most poignant photos shows five fliers holding a puppy. While the labels are in Japanese, foreign visitors will have no trouble reading the emotion in the eyes of the pale young men as the gamely pose for a last toast before climbing into what were essentially their flying coffins. These are no wild-eyed ISIS killers.

The aircraft more commonly used in the kamikaze flights was the infamous Mitsubishi Zero — also used for the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 1941. However, as the war progressed and the Japanese military became more desperate, the nation unleashed the Ohka (which means cherry blossom). The Ohka was a petite wood-and-metal airplane specifically designed for kamikaze missions. Armed with a ton of explosives in its nose, the Ohka was carried under the belly of a larger twin-engine Japanese bomber. During a mission, the Ohka pilot would ride in the bomber until the target was within 25 to 50 miles. He would then climb down through the bomb bay and into the small Ohka, pull a release lever and be on his way.

Though the little aircraft was primitive, it had a compass, an altimeter, and a toggle switch for firing the primitive propulsion rockets in its tail. By the time the Ohka rammed into an American ship, it would have attained a speed of some 600 m.p.h. — faster even than the average speed of today’s jetliners. Just before impact the pilot would pull a handle to arm the fuse of the nose explosives.

Prior to kamikaze missions, Japanese pilots vowed to take a battleship for every aircraft. And when they did score direct hits, the damage was often immense, with hundreds of American sailors killed and countless more horribly burned. But in fact, personnel on the U.S. ships were able to blast many of the kamikazes out of the sky with antiaircraft fire before the pilots reached their targets.

No historian has ever determined exactly how many Japanese airman perished in suicide attacks and under what circumstances. Eventually, every pilot in Japan’s military was taught how to ram-attacking bombers, and many pilots died in individual, spontaneous attacks that were unrecorded. But it is believed that more than a thousand kamikazes died in suicide attacks, and that more than a third of them were mere teenagers. In tribute, Chiran’s main streets are lined with more than a thousand stone lanterns representing each pilot.

Japanese young people who visit the museum today find the experience a thought-provoking one. Satsuki Watanabe of Kagoshima City says she visits the museum whenever she is in the area. “I have heard that most of the pilots didn’t think the war was necessary, but they felt compelled to defend their country,” she says. “In history, I read that a lot of Japanese people thought that the war was a bad thing, but they had to do it.”

There’s no question that the suicide missions aroused complex feelings in the young kamikazes. Some of the museum’s artifacts hint at the pilots’ torment. Letters bidding farewell to mothers, fathers, and sweethearts convey the writers’ great sadness at having to die so young, as well as their devotion to both family and homeland. Some of the letters, written by the pilots on their final night on earth, can be read in English via touch screens. Just outside the museum, in a small shady cedar forest is a (restored) army pilots’ house where the kamikazes would stay until being sent out on their final missions. Here the young flyers would write short messages or pen farewell notes and letters to be their parents or loved ones. While most foreign visitors to the museum are well aware of the countless atrocities carried out by the Japanese in China and across East Asia, it is not difficult to see that these young flyers were also pawns controlled by Japan’s hard-core military regime.

Before the first Ohka mission, staged in March 1945, the pilots took hair clippings and put them in boxes so that their parents would have something for funeral services. Each then wrote out a statement. One kamikaze pilot’s read: “May our death be as sudden as the shattering of crystal.”

On that first Ohka mission, 18 Japanese “Betty” bombers carrying 15 Ohkas took off from Kanoya Air Base; they were protected by a flight of 30 Japanese fighter planes. But before the Ohkas could be released, 50 American fighter planes attacked the suicide squadron. At the end of the engagement, 160 Japanese — including all 15 of the mission’s Thunder Gods — were dead.

At the entrance of the Chiran Peace Museum, the purpose of the facility is stated as “to commemorate the pilots and expose the tragic loss of their lives so that we may understand the need for everlasting peace and ensure such incidents are never repeated. That is now our responsibility.”

TIME Macedonia

Migrants Rush Macedonian Border as Chaos Separates Families

Migrants trying to get from Greece to Macedonia clashed with police

Migrants who were trying to cross from Greece into Macedonia clashed with police at the border on Wednesday, protesting the chaos that left families separated on either side of a divider.

Photographer Valdrin Xhemaj described a frenzied scene to TIME, saying police had permitted groups of 50 people at a time to cross the border into Macedonia, inadvertently splitting up some families. Amid the confusion, migrants rushed the border, trying to reconnect with relatives and friends who had already been allowed across. The blistering Mediterranean sun did little to aid the situation, Xhemaj said.

“It’s hard to attack anybody,” he said of police treatment of migrants. “They were trying to do their best.”

In one particularly heart-wrenching moment (which Xhemaj captured in slide 4 above), a young boy looked up at his father in the midst of panic. His father tried to convey a sense of confidence in the midst of the turmoil, Xhemaj said.

Wednesday’s confrontation followed earlier clashes at the Greece-Macedonia border and came as several prominent incidents involving migrants traveling to Europe has drawn attention to the brutal, and at times deadly, treatment they face.

The migrants’ trip through Greece, a member of the European Union, and into Macedonia is one of many legs en route to the promise of work in western Europe.

READ NEXT: Stranded Migrants Turn Budapest Into Choke Point Of Refugee Crisis

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