July 20, 2019


Buckley and Me: An Immigrant's Journey into American Conservatism (EMINA MELONIC, July 6, 2017, National Review)

You could say that I always had conservative tendencies. But I prefer to call them American. I was born and grew up in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Up until the start of the Bosnian war (the Siege of Sarajevo began in April 1992), I lived an ordinary life like most people there. That is, if you consider living in Communist Yugoslavia normal. The Soviet Union it was not, but neither was it "socialism with a human face."

I was born a Muslim, and for the most part I considered myself a cultural and ethnic Muslim rather then a fully practicing one. I began to think more deeply about my identity only once the war began. Muslims were targeted and eliminated. The Bosnian war brought the phrase "ethnic cleansing" into the public sphere.

As much as I was close to death more times than I'd care to remember, I was spared. I left my home by the end of 1992 in a convoy of women and children bound for a refugee camp in the Czech Republic.

Having spent almost four years in the camp, I did not want to go back to Bosnia. I was set on coming to America, and so I applied through the refugee resettlement program. My application was rejected and, out of both anger and desire, I wrote an appeal. That was a success, and I found myself on American soil in May 1996, just a few months shy of my 17th birthday.

Parallel to my geographic travels and constant uprooting was an odyssey of the mind. In many ways, books saved my life and kept me from being overcome by the darkness of my painful memories.

As I got older, I found myself navigating through the world of politics. Everything was political then, trending toward the absurd. On the surface, I subscribed to many of the liberal theories du jour. University space has a way of leading you into that abyss of identity politics, political correctness, and the worst offender of them all, collectivism. And yet, I was growing more and more restless. I was always interested in the order of things. By nature, I am a seeker of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, and I found myself increasingly surrounded by acts that were contra naturam.

Then I discovered William F. Buckley, Jr.

Sadly, were he alive today, WFB would be apologizing for helping to make Donald possible, just as he had to apologize over civil rights and Anti-Semitism on the Right.
Posted by at July 20, 2019 5:34 PM