Do fatal firebombs equate to a healthy "rebel spirit" in Greece? Joanna Kakissis's Tuesday dispatch from Athens, the site of recent anarchist violence, which appeared under the flattering headline "Rebels Hope New Austerity Rekindles Spirit of Greece's Activist Heart," could give that impression.
As of Tuesday afternoon the story was nowhere to be found on nytimes.com, and the Nexis version was accompanied by an unusual footnote: "This is a more complete version of the story than the one that appeared in print."
The story has indeed undergone extensive shifting and rewriting by someone, as the tale of the one-name anarchist "Panagiotis" is shoved out of the lead and placed two-thirds of the way down in the print report, which now leads with a vignette of a man named Pyrros Falekas who doesn't even appear in the Nexis version of Kakissis's story.
More important, the opening to the print version is objectionable, a flip observation on how street terror just isn't what it used to be.
On a recent summer night, Pyrros Falekas took a break from his restaurant job to stop by Parko Navarinou, near the heart of the lively middle-class Athens neighborhood of Exarcheia, a breeding ground for generations of student activists, anarchists and other rebel souls.
On this night, however, there were no firebombs or impassioned speeches. Like Exarcheia itself, it seems, the country's rebel spirit has seen better days, struggling to find its voice against its latest foe: harsh government austerity measures intended to keep Greece from going bankrupt.
Poor taste, considering that Kakissis also discussed the firebomb killing of three innocent bank workers:
Three people died during the last big demonstration on May 5, when a band of koukouloforoi broke away from the largely peaceful crowd of 100,000 and firebombed Marfin Egnatia bank, killing three young workers. Many Greeks call the dead martyrs of the financial crisis, and their hooded attackers murderers.