American Student Andrew Pochter Killed in Egypt During Protests in Alexandria

American Andrew Pochter Killed in Egypt was a Student

Andrew Pochter, 21, attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and was in Egypt on a three month visit when he was killed during protests in Alexandria on Friday.

In reports released by Egyptian officials, Pochter was stabbed in the chest, near his heart late Friday in the midst of unrests between supporters and protestors of President Morsi.  He was taken to a military hospital where he died.

Egyptian police have ordered the arrests of suspects, but have not released the number of suspects or the identities of the suspects in the killing.

Friends described Pochter as an idealist, an Arabist and a linguists drawn to the Middle East even in the midst of the political unrest there.

According to Zoe Lyon, a friend of Pochter, he was excited about the trip to Alexandria and did not express any reservations in visiting a country driven by religious and political conflict.

“I am not shocked he was at a protest,” she said.

A University of Michigan student, Tim Montrief, who has spent time in both Alexandria and Cairo stated that when tension arises there, it usually transfers over in how Americans are treated and it is usually really tense.

According to Montrief, the difference between the two is that in Alexandria “they don’t really want their pictures taken. You really didn’t want to be seen taking someone’s picture.”

Another student, Ian Bury, a part of a language program called Flagship, who returned to states recently, was amazed at how close he was in location to the unrest.  ”My friends lived across the street from the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters that were burned down. Protests frequently passed behind my apartment,” he said.

“I believe the real issue right now in Egypt isn’t the political disagreements but rather the complete lack of basic security measures,” he said.

Mr. Pochter’s family stated that his visit to Egypt was to teach young children English and to improve his Arabic skills.

“He went to Egypt because he cared profoundly about the Middle East and he planned to live and work there in the pursuit of peace and understanding,” the family said in their statement. “Andrew was a wonderful young man looking for new experiences in the world and finding ways to share his talents while he learned.”

After spending time with a host family in Morocco, at the beginning of the Arab Spring in 2010 and 2011, Mr. Pochter and Ms. Lyons were drawn into the social and political unrest in the Middle East.

Ms. Lyons also stated that Pochter was a member of Kenyone Jewish society and was close with its Arabic community and professors.

“He had a passion for learning about other people and other cultures. He was truly interested in listening to what other people had to say, which for a 21-year-old is not that common,” said Marc Bragin, Kenyon’s Jewish chaplain.

Mr. Pochter wrote articles for the Saudi Arabian news network Al Arabiya in 2011.  In one of his articles he wrote of his support of street protests and how he and his host family and others would be on the streets to make sure that their claims and concerns were heard by all parties.

Andrew Pochter’s parents reside in Chevy Chase, Md., outside of Washington.  On Saturday, his father informed reporters that the family would speak to the media another day.

Mr. Pochter’s mother, Elizabeth Driscoll Pochter, works for the National Gallery of Art in Washington as the administrator for policy and programs.

Andrew Pochter appeared to have died doing what he felt was necessary, supporting street protests.

By: Veverly Edwards

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