Middle East drew U.S. student slain in Egypt protest
Egyptian security officials said Andrew Pochter, of Chevy Chase, Md., was stabbed in the chest during clashes between supporters and opponents of the country’s president, Mohammed Morsi.
The New York Times
The American student killed in Egypt on Friday during street protests in Alexandria was an idealist, an Arabist and a linguist, drawn to the Middle East, friends said, despite — or perhaps because of — its political unrest.
Andrew Pochter, 21, a student at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, was exuberant when he departed for Egypt on May 28 for a planned three-month visit, said a friend, Zoe Lyon, whom he called from the airport.
The prospect of being in a country ravaged by political and religious conflict did not seem to scare him, Lyon said. Like many other young people drawn to the world’s problem spots, she said, “he knew there was a possibility of trouble, but never thought that he could get caught up in it.”
Egyptian security officials said Saturday that Pochter was stabbed in the chest during clashes between supporters and opponents of the country’s president, Mohammed Morsi. He was taken to a nearby military hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly afterward.
Egyptian prosecutors ordered the arrest of suspects in the killing, but gave no information on the number of suspects or their identities.
Pochter, of Chevy Chase, Md., was one of three people killed and dozens injured in the protests Friday in Alexandria. He had traveled to Egypt on an internship to teach English to Egyptian 7- and 8-year-olds and to improve his Arabic. He was to return this fall to Kenyon for his junior year.
The family said he went to Egypt “because he cared profoundly for the Middle East.”
He had previously spent time in Morocco and had written about the Arab Spring protests in an article for al Arabiya News in 2011. Pochter loved the culture and planned to live and work there.
At the time of his death, he was interning for AMIDEAST, a training organization focused on North Africa and the Middle East.
Through a spokeswoman Saturday, Pochter’s family asked for privacy at their home on a cul-de-sac in Montgomery County.
Pochter’s mother, Elizabeth Driscoll Pochter, is the administrator for policy and programs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
His college newspaper, the Kenyon Collegian, said Pochter was a leader of the school’s Hillel, the campus’ Jewish life group.
Marc Bragin, Kenyon’s Jewish chaplain and the director of Hillel House, said Pochter 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.”
Material from The Washington Post is included in this report.