Saudi Arabia’s department of education has got some hard core Star Wars fans.
Students in the kingdom recently discovered a photo in their social studies textbooks of the late King Faisal - in a lesson about the United Nations - with Yoda, the Jedi master from Star Wars, seated right next to him.
King Faisal ruled Saudi Arabia for 11 years and is credited with modernizing the kingdom during his time. He encouraged public education, established a judicial system and introduced television during his rule.
Naturally, it would only make sense to have a chapter dedicated to his achievements.
But, what was Yoda doing next to him as he signed the United Nations Charter in 1945?
The image was created by Saudi artist Abdullah Al Shehri, also known as Shaweesh, as part of a series in which he photo-shopped pop culture icons into historic photographs.
Little did he know this one photo would end up in a school textbook released by the Saudi Ministry of Education.
“I am the one who designed it, but I am not the one who put it in the book,” Al Shehri told The New York Times.
The 26-year-old artist got the idea after coming across a photo of the late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat meeting Mickey Mouse when skimming through photo archives from the Middle East.
He thought to himself, “this is what the archive needs … something fun, something that makes it less depressing,” he told The New York Times.
And that’s what led to a photo-shopped image of Yoda next to King Faisal. Why Yoda?
“He was wise and was always strong in his speeches,” Shehri explained.
“So I found that Yoda was the closest character to the king. And also Yoda and his lightsaber – it’s all green.”
Then came its unexpected placement in a Saudi history book … and of course, the jokes.
Remember? Worry not, “Saudi Ministry of Education” does!
“For world peace”
this is a history book in saudi they put a picture of king faisal with yoda for world peace LOOOOOOOOOL pic.twitter.com/ax124dOvbI— lama (@beIIahadids) September 21, 2017
The Saudi Ministry of Education accidentally put a picture of Yoda next to King Faisal on their social studies curriculum. I'm dying! pic.twitter.com/nmAOzaAj62— Aziz (@SilentRuins) September 21, 2017
“Yoda is real guys”
KUDOS to whomever did it
History books this year in Saudi featured a photoshop of Yoda next to the Saudi king signing the UN charter 1945— Dave (@davefogdove) September 21, 2017
Kudos to whomever did it. pic.twitter.com/9KFmftqgoT
Saudi education minister apologizes
وقد بدأت الوزارة بطباعة نسخة مصححة من المقرر وسحب النسخ السابقة، وشكلت لجنة قانونية لتحديد مصدر الخطأ واتخاذ الإجراء المناسب حياله.— د. أحمد العيسى (@aleissaahmed) September 21, 2017
Ahmed al-Eissa, the Saudi education minister, apologized via Twitter on Thursday for the “unintended mistake.”
“The ministry regrets the unintentional error that appeared in textbooks of the photo depicting the signing of UN Charter 1945,” Eissa tweeted.
“The ministry has begun printing a corrected copy of the curriculum and withdrawing the previous copy and formed a legal committee to determine the source of the error and to take the proper measures,” he wrote.
The minister also clarified that he did not mean to offend the late king in any way.