In Ancient Sparta there were three classes of inhabitant – true “Spartiates”, who were the descendants of the invading Dorian Greeks, the “perioikoi”, meaning those dwelling in the surrounds of Sparta, who were probably the remnant of the original, native ruling class, from pre-invasion times, and so not really Greek, but “Pelasgian”. Then there were the Helots, a slave class, probably the old slave/serf/working class, from pre-invasion times.
ONLY the Spartiates had any real rights, within – be it noted – a military economy, entirely geared up to war. The Spartiates were ruled by twin Kings, BUT the ordinary Spartiates elected “ephors” (overseers) who could veto the decisions of the Gerousia (Senate) and even of the Kings, in certain circumstances. The”perioikoi” had no real rights, but could pursue their lives within certain prescribed limits. The Helots, by contrast, were tied to the land and bonded serf labour. The similarity with Israel is striking – invading ruling class, a military society (Spartiates), Israeli Arabs treated as second class citizens (“perioikoi”), with the working class Palestinians as helots under Israeli occupation. The similarity is even more striking when one considers that the Spartans invaded, and “helotised” neighbouring Messenia – West Bank). Lebanon is INDEED the only real democracy in the area, and despite (because of??) that fact, the Israelis have invaded, and sought ti occupy it at least twice. The situation stinks.
By Andrew Dickie
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