I don't want to be a brick in a wall. All bricks look the same and they are cemented into place, kept in rigid order. And walls divide. And life is like banging your head...


Tony Blair has expressed deep sorrow over Britain's involvement in the slave trade. The press has reported this as Britain apologising for slavery. The radio station phone ins have discussed who is he apologising for and what he is apologising for.

If Blair is going to apologise for the legacy of slavery because it was wrong and people suffered, then where does that stop? Should he apologise to the French for the hundred years war, or wait for an apology from them for their illegal occupation of Britain in 1066?

It's ridiculous, but what's worse is that no one seems to have picked up that this is a matter of semantics. Sorrow is simply not synonymous with sorry. He expressed deep sorrow and everyone took this as saying sorry. I think this interpretation is wrong.

Sorry: sore in mind, aggrieved. (E) M.E. sory. A.S sarig, adj., sorry, sad, sore in mind; from sar, sore. + Du. zeerig, Swed. sdrig, sore, full of sores. Spelt with two r's by confusion with sorrow, with which it was not originally connected.

Sorrow: grief. (E) M.E. sorwe, sorze. A.S. sorge, gen. dat. and acc. of sorh, sorg, sorrow, anxiety. + Du. zorg, Icel. sorg, Dan. Swed. sorg, G. sorge, Goth. saurga, care, grief. Cf. Lith. sirgti, to be ill, suffer. Not allied to sore or sorry, though the present sense and spelling of sorry shews confusion with it.

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