Sunday, April 18, 2010

Meet the British Serbs of "BRITIC" - A British Serb Magazine! // A bit of Serbia in England

Aleksandra's Note:  The existence of "Britic", The British Serb Magazine, recently came to my attention. I'm excited about this! The relationship between the British and the Serbians has been a volatile one over the course of the last century. There's been "good" times and there's been "bad" times in that relationship. The U.K. is home to a number of Serbs who care very much about what's happening in the homeland and in the Diaspora. "Britic" is about building bridges and a bit of Serbia in England. Take a look!


Aleksandra Rebic



"Britic" is a quarterly magazine distributed by print, online and email establish in 2008.

The magazine is produced by Serbs in the UK to provide a forum for all Serbs in the UK, with particular interest to British born Serbs, hence the name.

We are Aleks Simic and Stan Smiljanic editors of the magazine and owners of Britic Media Ltd. which owns the publication. We have no political affiliations that are relevant to Serb issues and will tolerate a variety of views being expressed in these pages provided they are not gratuitously offensive, libellous or just boring. We welcome contributions from anybody who can articulate a coherent point of view on a Serb related topic or provide an interesting commentary on a Serb related event.

Britic is not-for-profit.

Britic Media Ltd. is registered in England and Wales, Company Number: 06654032

Registered address: 30 Mill Street, Bedford, Bedfordshire MK40 3HD



On 1st January 2009, the Directors passed the following first resolution:

Britic Media Limited is a private UK company number 06654032 formed in 2008 by Aleksandar Simic and Stanislav Smiljanic, who are sole and equal shareholders and Directors.

A separate arm of Britic Media Limited was formed to own and operate Britic, a not-for-profit magazine. It is anticipated that it shall be funded primarily by advertising and merchandising. All financial losses shall be met by the owners and no other party. Any profits shall be reinvested in the magazine or projects with an associated interest or charitable causes.

Britic is initially based on a printed quarterly format, distributed free-of-charge directly to the door and electronic distribution. However, the format, delivery, and frequency will adapt to find a stable balance that meets its not-for-profit status.

The magazine is expected to be of greatest interest to British born Serbs and secondly Serbs living in the UK and further afield in particular other English-speaking countries with significant Serb communities. Interest from other former Yugoslav ethnic groups living in the UK is anticipated and welcome, although not specifically targeted in order to avoid a potential nuisance. Lastly, any UK resident interested in Serbia may be interested in Britic.

The aim of Britic is to inform, interest and to cultivate a forum and identity for all Serbs in the UK. Editorial content shall be almost entirely English language, which is the only language that is universally understood by the entire intended demographic.

The Directors are also the editors and ultimately take ultimate editorial responsibility. As such, either director editor can refuse or modify any editorial content for any reason. The magazine is independent of any external organisation and editors have no political affiliations that are relevant to Serb issues and will tolerate a variety of views being expressed in these pages provided they are not gratuitously offensive, libellous or just boring. As far as there is an editorial stance, it is pro-Serb, pro-Serbian Orthodox Church and with a specific focus on items of interest to British born Serbs.



General Mihailovich Portrait by Pollard

Dražа: First Press Victim

George Orwell’s taboo essay eerily ‘predicts’ Yugoslavia’s death by press

"Animal Farm" (1945) is one of The Great Books of the Western World, often read at school and the subject of two films. Along with his other famous novel 1984, author George Orwell offers us bleak visions of totalitarian societies.

Orwell’s original preface to "Animal Farm" exposes the invisible hand of British self-censorship he sensed at that time. The preface cited Četnik leader Draža Mihailović falling prey to this censorship. It was felt so controversial that the preface was itself removed, seldom appearing in any editions of the book.

"Animal Farm" is a parable of the Soviet Union where the animals take over the farm and pigs become the ruling caste. At the time the novella was written, the British and the Soviets were fighting a common foe – Hitler. In his preface, Orwell accused the English intelligentsia of turning mute in order to appease Stalin.

Four publishers threw out "Animal Farm". One of the publishers sought advice from the Ministry of Information. An official cautioned against publishing at the present time (he later turned out to be a Soviet spy).

Orwell chose the example of wartime allegiance in Yugoslavia to illustrate his point. (These words were later censored.)

“A particularly glaring case was that of Colonel Mihailovich, the Jugoslav Chetnik leader. The Russians, who had their own Jugoslav protégé in Marshal Tito, accused Mihailovich of collaborating with the Germans. This accusation was promptly taken up by the British press: Mihailovich’s supporters were given no chance of answering it, and facts contradicting it were simply kept out of print. In July of 1943 the Germans offered a reward of 100,000 gold crowns for the capture of Tito, and a similar reward for the capture of Mihailovich. The British press ‘splashed’ the reward for Tito, but only one paper mentioned (in small print) the reward for Mihailovich: and the charges of collaborating with the Germans continued.”

The British press seeded a bias that later transpired to be a policy shift with profound consequences to Serbs. Up until 1943, Churchill had supported the royalist Četnik opposition. Towards the end of that year, British allegiance had swung to Tito’s Partisans. The mud has stuck, for example Wikipedia cites Draža as “now primarily remembered as a World War II collaborator”.

Was this the first example of Fleet Street seeding policy towards Serbia? It continues to play a pivotal role as “the blind leading the heavily armed” in the Balkan conflicts of the 90s. Orwell might have written this passage of those later conflicts:

“Anyone who has lived long in a foreign country will know of instances of sensational items of news…being kept right out of the British press, not because the Government intervened but because of a general tacit agreement that ‘it wouldn’t do’ to mention that particular fact.”

Britić readers will have a spectrum of sophisticated views on Draža’s legacy. Orwell did not discriminate over what could rightfully be addressed, only that “the enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment”.



Dear Friends of Britic,


Want to know about Britic in its first year and Britic moving forward in 2010 and beyond?....

In that case you absolutely must attend the...

"Friend of Britic" Dinner
on Saturday, 22nd May, 2010  7:30 p.m. at the

Ravna Gora Hotel
29 Holland Park Road
London W11 3RW

Keep reading for details ....

Following the recent success of the Britic event at The Holiday Inn, Coventry we're doing it all again! At the start of the second year of Britic, “the British Serb Magazine”. You have the Golden opportunity to spend some time with not only us but also other Serbs from around the UK.

Where else can you find out about * the future plans for Britic * how the idea for Britic came about * the new Britic campaign.

Hear as editors Aleks and Stan tell you in person what their motivation was in starting the first ever UK wide magazine for Serbs and

* You can tell them first hand.....

* What you've enjoyed and not only that, but also.....

* What you would like to see more of and.....

* What you would like to see less of.

The format for the evening is:

* Meet in the Ravna Gora bar for drinks at 7.30pm

* Sit down for a three course meal at 8.00pm

* Britic presentation & questions during coffee

* Retire to the bar.

Price per person is £29, partner of invitee is also welcome.

A three course meal will be served with coffee, please state vegetarian preference if required, at time of booking.

To book please send cheques made payable to “Britic”,
c/o Aleks Simic, 1B brereton Road, Bedford MK40 1HU

Spaces are limited, and being snapped up - so don't delay....

"Some of you will have provided articles for Britic whilst others might have sent in donations or become Britic 100 Club members. Some of you will have sent in photographs or just encouraged and advised us. You are all part of the reason why Britic has been a success and we want to thank you. "

Aleks and Stan, Editors, Britic

Any questions, ring Aleks Simic on 01234 350716


If you would like to get in touch with me, Aleksandra, please feel free to contact me at


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