Adnan Syed – Truly Innocent? Or a Good Liar?

 

MAIN-Adnan-Syed-appeal-to-be-heard-next-week

A seventeen year-old Adnan Syed

 

Adnan Syed is an infamous name that will be heard a lot, as I will be talking about how I think he is sincerely innocent, based off the podcast, “Serial“. He allegedly killed his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, back in 1999 and has been in jail ever since. Sarah Koenig, the executive producer of the podcast, found this case interesting and decided to take matter into her own hands. As a result, an interesting podcast was made, and a spark has been re-lit onto Adnan and his girlfriend’s eccentric case.

Starting off, let’s examine the letter(s) that were sent by Adnan’s friend, Asia:

 

asia-mcclain-letter-handwritten-1_0.jpg

A letter that Asia wrote to Adnan

There is some vital information that the letter contains, like how Asia remembers physically seeing and talking to Adnan, on the day of Hae’s disappearance. Adnan’s actions throughout that day, led to Asia believing he was innocent. Another thing to notice from this letter, is the fact that she literally went to his house, just to talk about Adnan’s “calm” manners. In addition, the most important thing to take away from this letter, is the conclusion. She admits that they are not close friends, and one can tell that by how she says she’ll hunt Adnan down and “wip” his ass. The “ok friend” and smiley face combo fit the tone of her writing precisely, as she sounds like she is a distant friend (which she is). Another example of this, is at the very start, when she says “Dear Adnon, (hope I sp. it right)”. These are the little things that make it all sound more genuine.

Later on in the first episode however, it was revealed Asia called a prosecutor and said that she was forced to write the letters. There are many possible reasons as to why she may have said that, but I personally think that she said that just to get out of this whole situation. Since the case became more relevant and known to the public, she may have not liked the amount of attention she was getting, and decided that lying was the easiest option out. Plus she could have spoken out right away, shortly after being “forced” into writing those letters, and not many months after. As a whole, what she said was suspicious compared to what she wrote in the letter.

 

IMG_0328-feature-hero

Adnan Syed’s “friend”, Jay

Next, we have the shocking statements made by Jay about what happened on the tragic day, which he told to the authorities. Considering the fact that Jay and Adnan did many things together, it wouldn’t make sense that Jay threw him under the bus. Either Jay must be lying, so that the case would just end and he’d be over it, or – Adnan actually murdered Hae. Now Jay lying is the most probable reason here, as he changes his story a lot, thus making sense if he lied. Rabia Chaudry, the attorney of Adnan, said this regarding the constant fluctuations of Jay’s stories, “Wilds changed his story during the investigation and trial, and did so again most recently in an interview with the publication the Intercept. In that, he says the burial took place around midnight, negating any significance the cell records had in placing Adnan near the burial site around 7pm” (Chaudry). As one can see, there is something fishy about Jay, as he seems to be constantly changing up what he says. Also, the difference between midnight and 7pm is huge, which makes him all the more suspicious.

 

Incoming Call to Track Meet

The calling history of Adnan Syed’s cellphone

Moreover, another piece of evidence(s) that was found against Adnan, were some of his cellphone records. A cellphone tower was able to give the location, and time of two phone calls on Adnan’s cellphone that took place on the day of Hae Min Lee’s disappearance. Regardless, this information does not exactly correlate to the whole case, as Amelia McDonell-Parry, a journalist for the Rolling Stone, further explains:

 

In an interview with The Intercept last year, Kevin Urick, the prosecutor from Syed’s 2000 trial, said that on their own, neither the Wilds’ testimony nor the cellphone evidence would have been enough to prove Syed’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Remember, Wilds never claimed to have seen Syed kill Lee; he merely claimed to have helped Syed bury Lee’s body (McDonell-Parry).

This quotation alone, should be enough to conclude on the fact that Adnan is innocent, as the prosecutor himself states that there would have not been enough evidence.

Finally, the last “evidence” (I wouldn’t really call it evidence) that is held against Adnan, is how he does not remember what happened on the grievous day. Adnan was first questioned by authorities about what he did on that specific day, between 2:00pm – 3:00pm, 6 weeks after it had happened. I personally do not remember what I did 6 weeks ago, and I’m sure most people wouldn’t either. Saying that he is guilty just because he does not remember what happened should not be totally held against him, as even though it can be considered as “evidence” it’s simply not enough evidence.

Throughout the “Serial” podcast, I genuinely thought that he answered every question he was asked with honesty. To this day, Adnan Syed is considered innocent until a new trial is held, where his innocence can be proven to everyone.

Works Cited

Chaudry, Rabia. “Adnan Syed Is Innocent. Now Find Hae Min Lee’s Real Killer.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 06 July 2016. Web. 28 July 2017.

Koenig, Sarah. “Serial.” Podcast. N.p., 3 Oct. 2014. Web. 28 July 2017.

McDonell-Parry, Amelia. “‘Serial’ Subject Adnan Syed: 4 Key Pieces of Evidence.” Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone, 01 July 2016. Web. 28 July 2017.

McLean, Asia. “Innocence.” Letter to Adnan Syed. 1 Mar. 1999. MS. N.p.

 

 

Advertisements

“Serial” – My Review & Thoughts

maxresdefault

Sarah Koenig on the phone

Serial is a podcast that is about a murder case, which is told by Sarah Koenig. In the first episode, we, the viewers, are introduced into what happened and the characters involved. Adnan Syed, was a seventeen year old Muslim kid that supposedly strangled his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Her body was found about a month later, and Adnan was immediately charged with first degree murder, with 30+ years in jail. Sarah decided to investigate this case for herself, and thus, made a whole podcast about it, called Serial.

I personally liked this podcast surprisingly, as this was one of the rare times I’ve even listened to podcasts in general. Although the first episode was 53 minutes, I think the fact that I like mysteries helped too. Sarah talks a lot (obviously, she’s the narrator & executive producer of the podcast) but her voice was not a burden to listen to, as it is quite soothing, rather than annoying. The choice of music that they put on the podcast is really good too, I more than often find myself either tapping my foot to the beat. Aside from the music, the other most important thing in the podcast, is the audio quality. I would have expected that when she calls a suspect/person that’s related to the case, that the voice would be of low quality, as their speaking through a phone and probably over a great amount of distance. Fortunately, they managed to get decent recordings of the phone calls, and I did not have to turn up my volume to understand what the person was saying. This enhanced my overall experience on the podcast, and I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys interesting and mysterious investigation(s).

151107171612-adnan-syed-yearbook-photo-exlarge-169

A picture of the alleged murder, Adnan Syed, when he was back in high school

The podcast has blown up ever since it’s release, however, we don’t hear much of Lee’s family and their opinion on how they feel about this situation as a whole. Now most people would not think much of the family, as they probably don’t care, but I on the other hand, think the complete opposite. Since we do not hear much from the family, this presumably makes me think that the family may not like the media attention, and are just flat out frustrated. Although they were notified about the podcast being made, as they had to get their permission, I don’t think they knew that it would be this big.

30E2BE6E00000578-0-image-a-53_1454958297595

Hae Min Lee’s family, brother (left) and mother (right)

The few statements we do hear from the family, however, are grief-full – as sadly expected. Wills Robinson, a journalist for dailymotion.com (his content gets posted on Dailymail, respectively), restated what the Lee family had to say, “We believe justice was done when Adnan was convicted in 2000, and we look forward to bringing this chapter to an end so we can celebrate the memory of Hae instead of celebrating the man who killed her” (Robinson). I genuinely have sympathy for the family, as all they’re trying to do, is to move on from this unfortunate case. The statement is partially true though, as more people listen to “Serial”, more people choose sides, and it just happened to be that a lot of people are on Syed’s side. I think this clearly made the family angry, as Baynard Woods, a writer in Baltimore, grasped a statement that the family made, regarding the fans of the popular podcast, “Unlike those who learn about this case on the internet, we sat and watched every day of both trials – so many witnesses, so much evidence” (Lee). As you can see, there is a difference from learning “this case on the internet” versus physically being at every trial, listening to the many witnesses and evidence – like the family has.

512VUtB-MkL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_

The art cover by Radia Caudry’s book, Adnan’s Story

To add on to what the family had said about learning about the case through the internet, I wonder how’d they feel if the producers of “Serial” made a book about the case. Although there is already a book made by the prosecutors called, Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial by Rabia Chaudry, it’d still be intriguing to hear from the perspective of the victims side. My guess is that the family will be even more enraged, as they just want to move on. Either way, I think I’d rather listen to the podcasts, rather than reading for specific reasons. Firstly, I think Sarah has made her voice a staple for the series, as everyone is used to her already. Plus, when you listen to people talking, you can hear how their voice sounds and that may change your interpretation of certain characters. That benefit alone, has the possibility of increasing my understanding of the case, and that’s why I’d rather listen, than read.

This podcast was a joy to listen to, mainly because of Sarah and her style of presenting her investigative journalism to us. She is a big reason of why the podcast is so successful, and as a result, has earned many fans, including myself. Her delivery of the whole case in general, is superb and considering the content of episode one, I can accurately predict that the rest of episodes in season 1 are just as good, if not better. You may even happen to find me listening to the long-waited premiere of season 3 in the future.

Works Cited

Dailymail.com, Wills Robinson For. “Family of ‘Serial’ Victim Hae Min Lee Say Her Convicted Killer Adnan Syed ‘destroyed Our Family’ in Emotional Letter That Slams the Podcast’s Fans for Running to Defend Him.” Daily Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 08 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 July 2017.

Woods, Baynard. “Serial Case: Victim’s Family Offers Rare Statement before Hearing Resumes.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 07 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 July 2017.

A Walk in the Woods: Archetypal Literary Theory Involved

A_Walk_in_the_Woods_Poster

The art cover of the film version of A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods is by the American author, Bill Bryson, who is known for his popular non-fiction books (including this one). The book is written in first person, and seen through the eyes of the author himself, Bill. Bill and together with his good old friend, Stephen Katz, hope to hike the harsh, 2100+ mile long, Appalachian Trail. The story is jam-packed with statistics and facts, to keep the reader on their heels, and to educate them with information ranging from tree species, to the history of the Appalachian Trail.

I like the general idea of the book; how two friends reunite and go on a long, tough journey. I just do not like how there are so many facts that Bill Bryson includes. Like talking about how long the Appalachian Trail really is, for a whole page (really, really boring).

forest

A mysterious forest, full with organisms

The biggest archetypal element that stands out to me in the book, are the amount of forests and trees there are. In the Appalachian Trail, there are many kinds of forests that our “hero” Bill and his “child-like” friend, Stephen, encounter. Forests can represent a symbol of the unconscious mind, or even a place of danger. Both definitions make clear connections to the story, as neither one of our main characters have that much experience with hiking, and thus, they are “unconscious” with their surroundings. Therefore, they are in danger, as they do not have the experience needed, to hike the Appalachian Trail. “The hero enters the forest and discovers something about himself … Often the hero is tested. Sometimes he doesn’t survive the confrontation with the unknown” (Engelmann, “The Forest Dark As Archetype”). This quotation accurately explains the situation regarding Stephen’s ability to continue hiking. Stephen constantly complains and whines all throughout the hike, because of the physical condition he is in. Thus, he is tested, but he pulls through (for now at least…) and continues to hike despite the pain. The fact that he may not “survive the confrontation” (aka quit/give up) is yet to be proved, and only time will be able to tell.

Bill Bryson, the main character, the mentor of his child-like friend (Stephen), and the hero of the book, A Walk in the Woods. When reading through the factual book, it was hard not to notice the many amount of times when Bill has helped Stephen either physically, “I’ll take your pack. I lifted it onto my back” (Bryson 53), and mentally when Stephen said, “We’ll freeze out there … Yeah probably, we’ve still gotta do it” (Bryson 47). There even more examples than these, like the countless amount of times when Bill has to wait for Stephen to catch up while hiking. When I look at Bill, I see not only a great friend, but a good mentor. I’d love to be his friend because for the simple fact that he is a caring man. Stephen would probably – for sure, die out there by himself, as he does not have the determination like Bill has. Regardless of Bill’s experience, his desire to conquer the Appalachian Trail, proves to be a greater priority; but above all, is keeping Stephen alive.

Stephen Katz on the other hand, or at least to me, is like an innocent child. He almost always requires help, no matter the problem size, big or small. This quotation accurately describes Stephen, “The mature personality of the Child archetype nurtures that part of us that yearns to be lighthearted and innocent, expecting the wonders of tomorrow, regardless of age” (Myss, “The Four Archetypes of Survival”). Stephen has a somewhat mature personality, and is a prime example of how “age” does not matter in his world. He is 44 years old, yet he acts like he is much, much younger than that. I noticed this whole “Stephen is so child-like” dilemma, when Bill said:

Katz had gone back to Des Moines and had become, in effect, Iowa’s drug culture. He had partied for years, until there was no one left to party with, then he had partied with himself, alone in small apartments, in T-shirt and boxer shorts, with a bottle and a Baggie of pot and a TV with rabbit eyes (Bryson 35).

This specific piece of text clearly represents how Stephen, in spite of his age, still acts as a much younger person.

dj

An old man (Looks like Stephen), despite his age, proving to everyone that he still retains his youthful “moves”

A Walk in the Woods, may be full of facts but, is also full with many archetypal elements – some of which, I discussed above. I would be lying if I said I loved the book, but rather just “enjoy” reading it, especially through a pair of archetypal lens. In terms of Bill’s and Stephen’s journey, the fact if they can make it through the trail or not, will be determined as time soon will tell.

 

Works Cited

Bryson, Bill, and Jackie Aher. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail. New York: Anchor , a Division of Random House, 2016. Print.

Engelmann, Peter. “The Forest Dark As Archetype.” The Forest Dark. WordPress, 11 Sept. 2014. Web. 12 July 2017.

Myss, Caroline. “Appendix: The Four Archetypes of Survival.” Caroline Myss. Caroline Myss, n.d. Web. 12 July 2017.

Grade 12 University English – A Requirement for entry into Universities? Or Unnecessary?

UWO

University of Western Ontario

In the near-future, I hope to attend the University of Western Ontario to continue my education and study either Nursing/Medical Science. Unfortunately for me, not only do both Nursing/Medical Science programs require me to take an English course, but a lot of programs at any university requires me to. That’s why I think taking Grade 12 University English should be a requirement for entry into all university programs. Not only will this help me and others that want to go to university academically, but also help our language and communication skills overall. English is needed for anything we do in life, no matter what a persons career may be.

My dream career is to become either a doctor or a nurse. Both of these jobs require an extensive amount of communication not only with their co-workers/teammates, but also

doctorpatient

A doctor communicating with his patient

with their patient. I personally love to help in general, and is why I think the jobs suite me pretty well. Regardless, I need to get better at my communication, listening, and speaking skills and the best way for me to improve these skills, is taking grade 12 University English. Not only will it prepare me for the intensity of University, but also help me with my career overall.

An important choice that I and other grade 12 students have to make, is whether we should take English at the university level or not. The information that we learn through grade 12 University English course is important, and even though my mark may lower/dip (as a result of the increase of difficulty), it is beyond worth it. Grade 12 University English helps tremendously as it basically carves a path straight into the English that the University offers, as they also primarily focus on literature and writing.

It doesn’t matter if I want to become a salesperson – someone who applies the skills of the English language efficiently and regularly, or if I want to become a garbage man – someone who probably does not talk to a lot of people on the job. The fact is that English is being used somehow someway.

The first book that I read and enjoyed greatly in grade 11 University English, was Frankenstein by 

frankenstein

The art cover of the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley. Usually books that are read in English class are boring and dull. This book, however, proved me wrong as it was surprisingly one of my favourite books ever. It improved my reading skills in general because the book was written in a high-intellectual type language and lots of literary content. This is the type of book that should be read in future English classes, like Grade 12 University English. Books that not only grab the reader’s attention, but also have them learn simultaneously. I feel like books like these, teach some important principles and fundamentals of reading to the readers. After finishing this book, I felt like I couldn’t wait to read the books that will be offered in Grade 12 University English.

In University, good language skills are needed as every other course you take, requires them. English is a pretty vague subject itself, and that’s why it is the most important subject for students. All other courses need English in order for them to “work”. Some of the courses include: Chemistry, Calculus, Physics, etc. Grade 12 University English needs to be a requirement for entry at universities because these subjects only get harder and harder.

All in all, grade 12 University English should be a requirement for entry into all university programs for the reasons stated above. I believe that if someone can pass grade 12 University English, then they will be well on their way, not only in University, but in life in general.

 

Works Cited

Ranjan, Piyush, Archana Kumari, and Avinash Chakrawarty. “How Can Doctors Improve Their Communication Skills?” Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research : JCDR. JCDR Research and Publications (P) Limited, Mar. 2015. Web. 05 July 2017.

Jerema, Carson. “Your Grades Will Drop.” Macleans.ca. Maclean’s, 08 July 2010. Web. 05 July 2017.

“Posts about Frankenstein Mary Shelley English Literature Revision A Level on Masteryourstudies.” Masteryourstudies. WordPress, 25 May 2013. Web. 05 July 2017.

“English Is The Most Important School Subject For Students To Learn.” English Is The Most Important School Subject For Students To Learn – Essay – 1062 Words. BrightKnite, n.d. Web. 05 July 2017.