Saudi Arabia’s under-secretary for educational curricula and programmes has found himself sacked after an official social studies textbook ran with a photo of King Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the country’s leader from 1964 to 1975, seated next to none other than Jedi master Yoda.
According to Arab News, Minister of Education Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Issa announced on Tuesday he had fired Mohammed bin Attia Al-Harthi over the incident, which involved a doctored version of an “iconic” photo of Faisal signing the UN charter in 1945. The artwork was originally created by artist Abdullah Al Shehri, who goes by the moniker Shaweesh and told the New York Times he had nothing to do with its inclusion in the textbook.
As can be seen below, it’s a pretty big mistake, as Yoda takes up almost as much real estate in the artwork as the late king himself.
— SilentRuins (@SilentRuins) 21 September 2017
“Someone should have checked the image before printing,” Shaweesh told the BBC. According to the Times, Shaweesh said his intent was to pair the late king—who is a popular Saudi historical figure—with someone who matched his wisdom and charisma.
“I meant no offence to the king at all,” he added.
The minister of education tweeted an apology promising an investigation into the incident.
تأسف وزارة التعليم على الخطأ غير المقصود الذي ظهر في صورة التوقيع على ميثاق هيئة الأمم المتحدة في مقرر الدراسات الاجتماعيات والوطنية..
— د. أحمد العيسى (@aleissaahmed) 21 September 2017
According to the Washington Post, state-linked media said this was just the latest screw-up from Harthi, and a number of supervisors involved in the production of the textbook are being terminated as well. Given Saudi Arabia’s notorious human rights record and generally ultra-conservative approach to enforcement of religious law, this might be a light punishment, all things considered. [Ars Technica]