If the events over the last months in the Middle East have been an Arab Spring then the final days of the revolution in Libya may prove to be a period of April thunderstorms and showers - something you wouldn't want to be caught up in but a sign , nevertheless, that summer is on its way.
As popular revolutions have rolled through Arab countries, some in the West have been doom-sayers; urging us to stick with the devils we know, those crazed dictators who murdered their own people, rather than embracing the people who were rising to throw of the yoke of tin-pot tyrants.
Some of this anxiety was understandable. Extremist Islamism has been a destructive force around the world inspiring terrorism that has casued death and destruction to Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
But one thing became clear as these revolutions sputtered into life - while people were drawing inspiration and identity from their Islamic religion they were not rising up in order to demand Islamist solutions. They have on the contrary raised calls for political freedoms that have great resonance in the democratic world.
Suddenly the old argument that Arab populations are unsuited to democratic governance started to seem a little hollow. These people were now demanding a say in running their countries and they werent it seemed demanding to be ruled by Mullahs.
The Libyan revolution has been the most bloody and posed a challenge to players on the world stage. There seems little doubt that the US led Nato intervention prevented a massacre of the rebellious east of Libya but it has come at a cost - and not just in money.
Only a minority of NATO countries actually put their shoulder to the wheel and participated in the action in Libya and NATO as a result will soon need to be re-thought. Is there a point in having members of a military alliance who stand on the sidelines when things get tough?
The more important issue though is the revolutionary upsurge among Arab peoples across North Africa and the Middle East that has bubbled up in recent months like champagne from an uncorked bottle. The pent up frustrations of people living under dictatorial regimes finally burst out in revolutionary mass demonstrations that have profoundly shaken the former status quo. In Arab countries and in North Africa people now know that they have the potential through mass action to assert their right to democracy and freedom in the face of autocratic regimes.
This is all still a strange experience for many in the West, not least those who viewed Islam and Arab nations in particular as being culturally incompatible with notions of democracy and freedom. They observed Islamism in action and it was almost invariably hostile, violent, intolerant and anti-democratic.
But there is now another possibility - that we are seeing the emergence of something we might call post-Islamism were people want islamically informed states but states which are not Theocracies and which are more pluralistic and tolerant than we have come to expect from many Islamic countries in that part of the world.
They may of course emerge with more restricted freedoms than we now associate with democracy but that doesnt mean that such countries could not be decent neighbours and essentially controlled by their peoples.. Many European countries have been religiously informed democracies in their past..
Equally significant changes may also take place in the way that we in the West view the Israeli Palestinian conflict. If Islamic nations in the Middle east and North Africa show themselves capable of taking a democratic path then Israel will find less excuse for its policy of suppressing the Palestinians by controlling and annexing their land.
These recent and ongoing revolutions have shown that there is a real appetite for freedom and democracy on the arab "street" and oppressive Islamist theocracies now seem by no means the only or even the most likely alternative to oppressive dictatorships.
On that view it is possible, just possible, that we might be seeing the first twinkling of a sort of combined Arab reformation and enlightenment - a time when democracy and rationality flower , a time of renaiscance, albeit in countries which are fundamentally Islamic.
That would be a huge step forward , not only for the people in those countries but for all of us.
Much depends on Libya and the Libyan people now. If the Libyan people can overcome these final bloody days and hold their untiy through what will no doubt be very difficult months ahead then the prospects for such a benign Islamic renaissance seem good.