Top Saudi Education Official Fired After Yoda Shows Up In History Textbook

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Mohammed bin Attia Al-Harthi, the Saudi Arabian education ministry’s undersecretary for curriculum and education programs, was fired this week after an edited image of Yoda, the iconic “Star Wars” character, showed up in a history textbook, Saudi-owned television channel Al Arabiya reported on Monday.

Per the report, education minister Ahmed Al-Issa also fired “others responsible for the mishap who reviewed and approved” the image of the late King Faisal, then a prince, signing the United Nations charter in 1945 with Yoda by his side.

Al-Issa apologized for the error on Twitter.

Saudi artist Shaweesh created the image as part of a series superimposing “U.S. cultural symbols ranging from Captain America to Darth Vader onto famous historical events,” according to his website.

Shaweesh told the BBC it was not clear how his work ended up in the school textbook, but said he did not mean to offend with the edited image, and chose Yoda to accompany the monarch because their characters were both “wise, strong and always calm.”

“Everyone loves King Faisal here, even the younger generations,” he said. “Someone should have checked the image before printing.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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