DEYAN RANKO BRASHICH was born in Belgrade, former Yugoslavia, and is an Op-Ed columnist for Connecticut's Litchfield County Times.  He writes the monthly Letter From America column for Romania’s Scrisul Romanesc, a literary magazine and is a Contributing Editor for  The Country and Abroad, another literary/art magazine where he authors the Dispatch from Abroad column. He is a frequent contributor to Pecat, the Belgrade, Serbia weekly news magazine and Britić, a magazine published in the United Kingdom. He resides in New York City and Washington, Connecticut.

 

Media
Friday
Nov212014

THERE OUGHTA BE A LAW

A version was published as the lead Op Ed article “There Oughta Be a Law”, Litchfield County Times, November 20, 2004

In 50’s and 60’s the cartoon “There Oughta to Be a Law” mocked the foibles and frustrations of everyday life: arriving at a supermarket with the cashiers idle and then trying to leave when they were overwhelmed; the guy pleading poor mouth while living in luxury; the couple who dropped by for a minute and stayed ‘til midnight. Occasionally it targeted larger issues: your New Year’s resolution for patience, toleration and consideration while the rest of the world was going to hell in a hand basket with wars and revolutions.

That comic strip was the bellwether of what has become a national disaster – hundreds, thousands of laws submitted, debated and passed to solve each and every one of our problems, no matter how large or small.

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Tuesday
Nov112014

MONEY - THE NEW CENSOR

A Romanian language version of this article was published as “Banii – noul censor”, Scrisul Romanesc, November, 2014

Censor - to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable; to suppress or delete as objectionable. Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Once upon a time The New York Times was one of the yellow press -newspapers that sensationalized crime, war and scandal. The truth of the lies was not the point, selling thousands of newspapers was the goal. Over the years The Times exercised self-restraint and evolved into “The Grey Lady”, America’s newspaper of record that has “All the News That’s Fit to Print”.

The Times had to fight public and private censors to achieve this exalted status. L. B. Sullivan, the Public Safety Commissioner for Montgomery, Alabama tried to censor and suppress an advertisement supporting Martin Luther King’s civil rights struggle. The Supreme Court in New York Times v Sullivan decided in The Times’ favor making publication subject only to the laws of libel and slander.

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Friday
Sep262014

STAY CALM - OFF WITH THEIR HEADS

 640px-Execution_of_Louis_XVI.jpg (640×383)

“Execution of Louis XVI”, Etching, graveur: Isidore-Stanislas Helman [1743-1806?], graveur [eau-forte] Antoine-Jean Duclos [1742-1795]. Illustrateur: Charles Monnet [1732-180?]  Bibliotheque Nationale de France  - nota bene: the severed head being exhibited to the crowd

 

The world is aghast and revolted by “the savage, barbaric” beheading of two journalists and a tourist by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIS or ISAL] and an Algerian jihadist group. Taking a high moral ground President Obama denounced these dastardly deeds with statements from the White House and the United Nations. 

Yet America’s closest ally England has a proud and colorful tradition of beheadings, beheading being an equal opportunity employer. Between 1076 and 1697 more than 190 notables, ladies-in-waiting, earls, duchesses, barons, a couple of Queens [Ann Boleyn and Mary Queen of Scotts, and lest we forget Lady Jane Grey, the Queen For-9-Days from July 10 to 19, 1553], Secretaries of State and Lords of the Privy Seal [Thomas Cromwell] were executed for various misdeeds real and imagined at the Tower of London and elsewhere. Some were beheaded posthumously [Thomas Cromwell], which seems pointless and a bit much.

With the advent of a unified Great Britain in 1707 beheadings continued apace but the tradition was expanded by the execution of Jeremiah Brandeth in 1817 first hanged and then gratuitously beheaded while others were drawn and quartered after the beheading, overkill if you ask me.  

France is the hands down winner of the Execution Olympics having beheaded by guillotine some 40,000 of its citizens, commoners and aristocrats alike, during its glorious Revolution celebrated every Bastille Day on July 14 with pomp and circumstance. I do not wish to rain on their parade by reminding them that they decapitated, in broad daylight and in public, Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Madame du Barry and even Antoine Lavoisier, the Father of Modern Chemistry.

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Monday
Sep222014

THE SERB HOUDINI - THE KING OF PICKPOCKETS

A version of the article was published as the Featured Op Ed Article: “The Serb Houdini – The King of the Pickpockets”, Britić, The British Serb Magazine, Sunday, September 17, 2014

BORRA MIT ZWEI “R”

There was not much that brightened your days in post war Austria in 1949. For hapless Yugoslav refugees, such as my family, the future, if in fact there was to be one was uncertain. Food was rationed, fuel scarce, days damp and cold. Scarce pleasures were to be relished and became indelible memories.

One day billboards and posters went up all over the small town where we refugees had been billeted. The circus was coming to Bregenz, the provincial capital of the Vorarlberg Province some miles away. The featured performer was the magician Borra who spelled his name “mit zwei ‘R’”, with two “R’s”.  

Borra, would you believe was a Serb, a magician, once a rising star whose fancy cabaret performances my Mom and Dad had attended in Belgrade before the war. Even then he was hailed as the next Houdini, the next Blackstone, an act not to be missed. Somehow my parents managed to come up with the money to have us travel and attend a packed performance. I do not recall much about it, after all I was 9 years old; I might well have dozed off midway. But I do remember that my Grandmother, Mom, Dad and my older brother extolled and breathlessly relived the experience for weeks thereafter. Ah, yes I remember that well.   

This week I was searching on eBay for a birthday present for someone who happens to be a collector of vintage posters when I chanced upon some for sale that triggered my memory:

                      borra

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Thursday
Sep042014

THE GREAT SERBIAN-AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION HOAX

A version of the article was published as “The Great Serbian-American Bar Association HoaxPecat, the Belgrade, Serbia weekly news magazine, Thursday, September 4, 2014. 

                                     THE GREAT SERBIAN-AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION HOAX

Nikola Kostich, a friend and fellow attorney with whom I tried cases before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, passed away last week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am finally free to confess to the Great Serbian-American Bar Association Hoax. So, ever so belatedly, here is the truth, the nitty-gritty, the real skinny on that caper.    

Brits and Americans have this penchant for associations catering to inane and arcane interests - witness the International Association for Bear Research and Management, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention and the British Llama Society. Cambridge University alone boasts of more than 200 registered clubs and societies while the United States Internal Revenue Service recognizes some 90,908 trade and professional associations and hundreds of thousands of philanthropic and charitable associations, so who is going question yet another?

Nick and I were licking our legal wounds after suffering ignominious defeat at the hands of the Feds in the Nikola “Lovać na Tita” Kavaja/Boško “The Yugo” Radonjić/SOPO trial and the hijacking of American Airline Flight 293; for those of you for whom the names and events do not ring a bell, Google away for a bit of history. “Drowning” might be a more apt description of the activity since we were drinking I.W. Harper’s bourbon on the terrace of my office, high above Madison Avenue in New York City.

From those bourbon infused fumes was born the idea of founding yet another futile endeavor – the Serbian-American Bar Association. With many a hoot and holler we expanded on the idea. Not satisfied in just expounding on the idea between sips of bourbon we set about in writing a press release announcing its birth and then, besotted, sent it out to the media.

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