Thursday, 25 December 2008

Britić, The British Serb Quarterly

I received a lovely pre-Chirstmas present today! It's only the first ever edition of a new British Serb quarterly magazine called Britić! A magazine, catering for the Serbian diaspora in Britain, hence the quaint and yet so appropriate name! And as one of its editors writes on page 3, "Britić aims to provide connections between and a forum for all Serbs in the UK". Just what the doctor ordered!

The first letter of its name is actually written like a Cyrillic Б, but with a round loop as that of the small Roman letter b, thus demonstrating a blend of both Cyrillic and Roman alphabets, which is an appropriate depiction of the integration of Serbs in Britain into British life. (See the website)

Again on page 3 of this Božić (i.e. Christmas) 2008 edition, where on the top of the page you see the Serbian coat of arms with the Serbian crown atop, but supported by the British heraldic lion on the lefthand-side and the royal unicorn on the righthand-side above blank mottos, this magazine claims to be an "extraordinary social experiment", as the reader is informed that they will only receive future publications of this fledgling magazine if they subscribe to it, constituting a real test to see how much of a community we British Serbs really are.

The two main editors of this magazine, Stan Smiljanić and Aleks Simić, are also the owners of Britic Media Limited in Bedford, an English town with a significant Serbian population, while the printing of this magazine is done 18 miles south in Luton of all places! (That's where I live, by the way!) And they also state that they have "no political affiliations that are relevant to Serb issues and will tolerate a variety of views being expressed in these pages", which is excellent, so long as they're not "gratuitously offensive, libellous or just boring".

Britić is "produced by Serbs for Serbs", and is aimed at British born Serbs, descendants of Serbian immigrants from the 1940s and later, whom it claims are the "largest demographic Serb group" in Britain. Because of which - unless you haven't already guessed it - the magazine is written primarily in English. Nevertheless, it is hoped that this edition "will be the start of a long and interesting relationship with British Serbs", which will also "lead to a stronger and better defined community".

As for the contents of the magazine, Britić explores a number of Serb-related issues, be they concerning the Serbian diaspora here in Britain or concerning our people back home in the Balkans. It looks at Culture, Media, Politics, Sport, Property and other current events. It informs the reader with up-coming events such as Church Services in different towns round Britain along with a compact Church Calendar to help remind us of fasting rules, and also includes announcements from friends and family from all over the place wishing their kith and kin wherever they are a Sretna Slava, a Happy Birthday, or congratulating them on some enterprise (such as the very launch of Britić for its editors Aleks and Stan!). There are numerous advertisements advertising services such as lawyers, food products like kobasice & ćevape, and a professional icongrapher with contact details. And towards the end, it has a Kitchen Corner with "Recipes from home", along with a few puzzles such as one wordsearch to find towns and cities in Serbia and a matching puzzle, in which you match Serbian towns to their population size. Precisely what every diaspora magazine should have!

Britić has also made an exclusive interview with Serbian tennis player Nenad Zimonjić by editor Stan Smiljanić, who is now a champion at Wimbledon and an expectant father. It examines Novi Sad's famous EXIT festival, which receives 160,000 visitors and 600 artists performing on 25 stages! Believe it or not, Bob Marley now has a statue of himself in Serbia's Banat region fashioned by a Croatian sculptor! And there is even a review of the video game Grand Theft Auto IV, with its hero/anti-hero the fictional Serbian war veteran Niko Bellic!

Subscription is free of charge as is delivery, and if you fill out and send the subscription form on page 30, you might also win a free iPod!

Just to finish this post. When asked what message he would like to give Britić readers in its exclusive interview with him, Nenad Zimonjić answered with the following:

"It is really nice to see our people all around the world when I travel. They stay connected in societies, through Church and like you're doing now with the magazine trying to keep our people together. I think that is important, even if some of them do not live in Serbia. For us athletes like tennis players or other artists it is always nice when we hear support from our own people so please keep it up and try not to forget your backgorund, where you come from."

[My Emphasis in bold]

So you can be sure that I for one will subscribe to this new British Serb magazine, Britić!

Visit the website by clicking here, where you can also subscribe online.

4 comments:

Owen said...

Alan, I had a bit of difficulty downloading but eventually got there. In spite of claiming no political affiliation it's not hard to see where Britic is coming from if you read the Channel 4 / Media Massacre article.

Alan Jakšić said...

Yes Owen, I saw that too. :-\

But as you know Owen, many British Serbs remember this country's media coverage of the wars in the 90s as depicting our people in a very negative light. And there are many that still question the credibility of what they heard on the news regarding war crimes, something I used to do myself.

Some opinions will take time to be replaced by more correct and appropriate opinions. However, bear in mind that not everyone spends as much time on the computer as I do for instance, let alone takes the time to read opinions that are fundamentally different from their own. Also not all British Serbs watch Serbian TV channels via satellite like I do to keep in touch with political events back home. And from speaking to a couple of family members who live in London, I believe there is a lot of apathy amongst Serbs in Britain regarding the political situation back home, especially since the Kosovo war of 1999, when many British Serbs attended demonstrations against the NATO bombing of Serbia, only to find that their voices fell on deaf ears.

In defence of Britić, it states that it is an open forum for all appropriate views amongst British Serbs. I am personally very glad that we finally have a magazine dedicated to our community in this country, even though it will only be published four times a year. Nevertheless Owen, you might just see my name in a future publication! ;-)

Owen said...

Alan, if it's an open enough forum to allow your voice be heard in it, Britic will have shown it deserves to be given the chance to prove itself. The first step towards everything is communication.

Anonymous said...

alan,
i do not think that it had been up to yugoslavs to understand what "all serbs in one country meant".

it behooved milosevic or serb govt to tell mesic who was in the yugoslav presidium what that meant.

and as far as i know, mesic did not ask for a clarification what serb govt meant. or did he?

however, seeing four serb votes in the presidium may have
told him everything he wanted to know!
tnx bozh