Andrew Pochter: Everyone’s Son

As our nation celebrated its 237th birthday with fireworks, barbeques, parades, retail sales and even a few Declaration of Independence readings, I followed the news in Egypt. This country, with its history extending thousands of years, is still struggling to secure a government.

As I watched my grandchildren scamper like squirrels from the sandbox DSCN1290  to the baby pool, climb boulders and listen to stories, DSCN1314  I thought about a 21-year-old man I’d never met.

Andrew Pochter   pochterwas stabbed to death June 28 while observing the anti-government protests in Alexandria, Egypt. A rising junior at Kenyon College, Pochter, a religious studies major, was interning for the summer, teaching English to 7- and 8- year olds and improving his  Arabic.  He had planned to study abroad next spring in Jordan.

The perpetrator disappeared in the crowd.

The news about Egypt continues. The story about Andrew disappeared after one day.

As a mother and grandmother, I thought about Andrew. I couldn’t imagine the phone call his parents received with the news of their son’s untimely death. I can imagine what they’re now going through. Young death is tragic; these circumstances beyond explanation.

Andrew, who had previously studied in Morocco, was pursuing his passion, committed to learning about the Middle East. His parents wrote in a released statement: “He had studied in the region, loved the culture, and planned to live and work there in the pursuit of peace and understanding.”

I remember when my sons studied in Israel. Having never been there, I nervously put them on airplanes and worried.

I played with my grandkids and wondered.  Where will they be when they’re 21? I can’t put them in a bubble; I can’t protect them from the world.

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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19 Responses to Andrew Pochter: Everyone’s Son

  1. The unrest in Eygpt is also laying on my heart. I feel for the people (in as a nation) and want peace for them. Knowing individual stories, like that of Andrew makes it even more heart-breaking and yes…I can’t imagine how his family feels besides their pride in him as indicated in their statement.

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  2. Drjcwash says:

    It has been such a sad story. I guess we can only continue to hope they will find their way back to peace but right now it is not looking good.

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    • My parents have traveled to all these MidEast countries that are now embroiled in war and confusion. I wonder if I’ll ever get to them.

      On Mon, Jul 8, 2013 at 10:54 AM, cyclingrandma

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  3. Thanks for bringing this important story to light. We need to remember the ordinary nen and women who give so extraordinarily much.

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  4. adinparadise says:

    The situation in Egypt also really saddens me. Andrew’s death is a needless tragedy, and one can only hope that sanity will prevail before many more young lives are lost.

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  5. I had very similar reactions to this story Lisa. My daughter is a religious studies major, living in Israel, as you know. When she goes to areas that make us uncomfortable, it is stories like Andrew’s that haunt me. Such a tragedy… and yes, not covered enough in the news! Perhaps because the US Govt does not want to upset Egypt? Even though the US State Dept has warned all Americans against going to Egypt at this time, unless for essential reasons. I grieve with his family. Thanks for covering this.

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  6. Reblogged this on Tales from the Motherland and commented:
    Take a minute to read this story by my writing friend Lisa at Cyclingrandma. This is a story that barely dented the news, but should be seen. As the parent of a daughter who majored in Religious studies, lives in Israel and is as passionate about the Middle East as Andrew Pochter was, my heart grieves for his parents, and those who knew and loved him. The Middle East has lost a beautiful supporter.

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  7. I also reblogged and commented…

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  8. susanissima says:

    Yes, this is such a touching story, so very sad. We just have to love our children and each other every moment and know that it isn’t about what we can keep, it’s about the moments we’ve shared. Thanks for writing this cyclinggrandma and for reposting it talesfromthemotherland.

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  9. ShimonZ says:

    Having taught American exchange students here in Israel, I saw that many believed that all people are basically the same, all around the world. Such a point of view can be rather dangerous when young people visit foreign countries in troubled times…

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  10. This is so sad, and so ironic, because he was trying to build bridges and understanding.

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