Pro cyclists have completed their now-yearly visit to the Arab world, including the Tour of Qatar and followed by the Tour of Oman (pronounced by Moms as "Oh, man") which finished last Sunday.
At the same time these marginal races happened, massive polular revolts began in almost every Arab state. Libya is now struggling to break Gaddafi's "pimpocracy," and forcing Gaddafi to take to the studio and cut a new track (see below):
Protesters have taken to the streets in Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, Palestine, Bahrain, and Wisconsin.
What do these Arab revolts have in common? Just what do these Arab citizens want?
Conservatives are split. Glenn Beck believes, and I'm not making this up, radical Muslims have joined forces with left wingers to found a new caliphate. (On second thought, this may not be so farfetched: here's Noam Chomsky, big-time liberal, talking to PressTV, a propaganda mouthpiece of Iran's Revolutionary Guard).
To Bush followers, the uprisings prove that Bush did bring democracy to the Middle East.
Liberals are split between those who kind of believe in letting things just happen and hoping shit doesn't hit the fan (Obama), and those who kind of know they should be wanting Gaddafi to lose power but admit they don't because ain't no one work a robe or female bodyguards like the Gad-man.
As is often the case, both liberals and conservatives miss the point. Although I have as of yet been unable to talk with an actual Middle Easterner, I have managed to procure several sentiments from the interwebs. Foremost among the demands made by protestors of Mubarak's Egyptian regime was a more cycling friendly envirment. It must be admitted, some protestors were simply fans of professional cycling, and took to the streets at the outside of the Tour of Qatar, at one point taking up the chant for three-time Qatar winner Tom Boonon: "Boonen! Boonen! Coke is not halal but you're still our pal!"
Some protestors could not contain themselves at the thought of the upcoming season, and shouted for their favorite races:
But most protestors are just ordinary Arab cyclists seeking better lives on their bikes. They dream of wider bike lanes, safer signals, a city that caters to cyclists.
Meanwhile in Madison, protestors gathered to voice their displeasure at an anti-cycling regime (Governor Walker). Madison had ranked 7th in Bicycling Magazine's Top Cycling Cities in America, but many are worried that the new regime will gut the city's cycling infrastructure.
Whether Governor Walker will follow Mubarak and Tunisia's Ali family into exhile remains to be seen. Walker, like Gaddafi, has drafted a strategic plan to derail his opposition. The Governor's strategy, surely, requires avoiding the three-feet passing bit of legislation that has recently set the MABRA region in flames. Nothing seems to inflame cyclists as much as three-feet passing legislation.