Plenty of people complained that the Star Wars prequels were too bogged down in politics, but at least the Jedi weren’t rubbing elbows with Saudi kings.
In what has to rank as one of the most bizarre education-related snafus of all time, some Saudi students could be forgiven for thinking one legendary Force-wielder got involved in their international affairs. That’s because, as the BBC detailed this week, a textbook in Saudi Arabia mistakenly included a digitally altered photo of Yoda sitting next to King Faisal while the latter signed the United Nations charter in 1945.
It sounds almost too strange to be true, but indeed, it is. How this slipped past the person responsible for double-checking everything in the book isn’t entirely clear―Yoda, notably, is not just an iconic character featured in one of the biggest sci-fi film franchises of all time. He’s also a member of a plainly non-existent alien species, and as such, he’s certainly never hung out with King Faisal.
Saudi textbook features image of @starwars #Yoda with King Faisal signing #UN charter in 1945. https://t.co/uAT2bpRvTL pic.twitter.com/Kn2lMHUCIC
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) September 22, 2017
What happened, as far as we can tell, is that somebody inadvertently used the altered image instead of the genuine version. The Yoda photo was reportedly part of a broader project by a Saudi artist named Abdullah Al Shehri, popularly known as Shaweesh.
As The New York Times detailed, Shaweesh inserted iconic American pop cultural characters into scenes throughout history, including seating the diminutive Jedi master alongside King Faisal. At some point, for some reason, someone involved with producing the textbook must have gotten their hands on it and added it in. The only question is whether this was an unwitting mistake, or a witting―and, quite frankly, awesome―act of prankery.
Of course, now that this delightful yet historically inaccurate little Easter egg has been discovered, it’ll likely be remedied in short order. But hopefully nobody forgets that fateful day when Yoda threw his weight behind Saudi Arabia signing the U.N. charter, all without even having to draw a lightsaber.
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