NBC's Engel: Reform Activists 'Were Crying' Over Egyptian Election Results

On Saturday's Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, NBC correspondent Richard Engel conveyed that the reform advocates who led the toppling of Hosni Mubarak's regime in Egypt are distraught at the kinds of candidates that Egyptian voters are choosing to replace Mubarak, with both major presidential candidates likely to curtail freedom if elected. Engel recounted: (Video at bottom)

Well, let me put it to you this way: Here in our bureau in Cairo last night, several people here who were supporters of the revolution, who were out in Tahrir Square to topple Mubarak when there was this air of enthusiasm, this revolutionary zeal that anything was possible, several of them last night in this office were crying when they learned that these are the two people that they have to choose between.

Engel ended up cautioning: "Be careful what you wish for."

Last year, after initially seeming to downplay the possible dangers posed by a rise in power by the Muslim Brotherhood, months later he more soberly predicted that the rise in 'ferociously anti-Israel" public opinion in Egypt would likely mean "this thing ends in Jerusalem."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Saturday, May 26, Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC:

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY: So these two candidates who ended up in the runoff here, these are really the most polarizing candidates, the Muslim Brotherhood and basically old Mubarak regime. So how is it that we ended up here? What does it mean for what this election will actually mean for Egypt going forward?

RICHARD ENGEL: Well, let me put it to you this way: Here in our bureau in Cairo last night, several people here who were supporters of the revolution, who were out in Tahrir Square to topple Mubarak when there was this air of enthusiasm, this revolutionary zeal that anything was possible, several of them last night in this office were crying when they learned that these are the two people that they have to choose between.

On one hand, Mohammed Morsi from the Muslim Brotherhood, who wants to impose Islamic law which is something many people in this country, including Muslims, don't want to see. Egypt has a devout population. People go out, they pray, they fast. They are Muslims in their day to day life and don't see any need to impose Islamic law in government. There are also about 10 million Christians in this country who worry that they could become permanent second-class citizens.

On the other hand, you have Ahmed Shafiq, who was somebody who still praises Mubarak, who was from the old regime. He was a prime minister. He presents himself as a strong man, the kind of person who's going to crush dissent - not a revolutionary, not the kind of change that people went out to see.

So democracy could either allow people to choose Islamic law, which a lot of people don't want, or to choose another Mubarak, which is not what they expected either. So I guess it's a question, some people are asking, "Be careful what you wish for."