Last month, the Egyptian revolution enraptured us, with "pro-democracy" demonstrators effecting, through the agency of the Egyptian army, the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, a friend and ally for three decades.
In the exhilaration of their democratic triumph, some of the boys in Tahrir Square celebrated with serial sexual assaults on American journalist Lara Logan. A week after the triumph, returned Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi addressed a crowd estimated at 1 million in Tahrir Square.
In January 2009, Qaradawi had declared that "throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the (Jews) people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. ... Allah willing, the next time will be in the hand of the believers."
"Qaradawi is very much in the mainstream of Egyptian society," wrote the Christian Science Monitor.
In 2004, this centrist was apparently offered the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Today, we read that, liberated from Mubarak, Muslims set fire to a Christian church in Sol, south of Cairo, then attacked it with hammers.
When enraged Christians set up roadblocks in Cairo demanding the government rebuild the church, they were set upon by Muslims as soldiers stood by. Thirteen people, most of them Coptic Christians, were shot to death on Tuesday, and more than a hundred were wounded in the worst religious violence in years.
Revolutions liberate people from tyranny, but also free them up to indulge old hates, settle old scores and give vent to their passions.
What are the passions that will be unleashed by the revolution that has the Arab nation of 300 million aflame?
Surely, one is for greater freedom, good jobs and prosperity, such as the West and East Asia have been able to produce for their people.
Yet if even European nations like Greece, Ireland and Spain, which used to deliver this, no longer seem able to do so, how will these Arab nations, which have never produced freedom, prosperity or progress on a large scale, succeed in the short time they will have?
Answer: They will not. The great Arab revolution will likely fail.
And when it does, those other passions coursing through the region will rise to dominance. And what are they but ethnonationalism, tribalism and Islamic fundamentalism?
What will eventually unite this turbulent region -- when its peoples fail to achieve what they are yearning for -- is who and what they are all against.
Ask not for whom the bell tolls.