A couple of days ago, I watched an hour-and-a-half-long documentary on the history of the world, which supposedly started 13.7 billion years ago with a big bang! What actually banged, and what was there before the Big Bang was not made clear. But it was made very clear that those bangs kept recurring and this is how the stars, the planets, and the universe were created. The bangs or explosions are a never-ending process and so is the creation of new stars and planets. The documentary was absolutely fascinating.

What was also very interesting was the comparison that was made to show when humans appeared on earth relative to the history of the universe. The narrator said that if we compress the almost 14 billion years into 14 years, humans would have appeared during the last three minutes of those 14 years, and the industrial revolution would have taken place 6 seconds ago! So there’s no doubt that we humans have been around for only a brief instant in the recorded history of the universe, occupying actually only a tiny slice of it.

And what a mess we have made during this short time! It’s almost embarrassing to acknowledge the havoc we have caused on our minute planet earth, which supposedly was formed 4.6 billion years ago. Havoc in consuming its land and water resources that took literally millions of years to form; havoc in destroying the environment that took billions of years to acquire its current shape, and more embarrassingly, havoc in killing each other after the millions of years it took homo sapiens to look and act the way we do today (with all due respect to those who believe otherwise!).

If an (assumingly more advanced) alien were to land on earth, could you imagine how ridiculous we would sound to it when we actually fight each other over a plot of land? Or worse, that we actually abuse to the point of killing each over the possession of material things or even over differences in ideologies? If I were that alien, I would say “You earth people don’t deserve this!”

The documentary ended with the following sentence: “In everything that we do, in all that we are, we remain living monuments to the past as we continue to make history every day.” We are indeed living monuments to the past, but what kind of history are we really making? I am not totally dismissing the achievements of humanity, but I believe that any outsider would conclude that until now, we have been disrespectful to our collective history, we have been ungrateful for the treasure of resources that was given to us, and possibly more importantly, we have been unkind to each other, especially given that we’re all created from the same cosmic material.

Sani Meo is co-owner and general manager of Turbo Design (1985), publisher of This Week in Palestine and Filistin Ashabab magazines. He's an incorrigible optimist, a staunch advocate for Palestinian justice, and a firm believer in the private sector. Socially and politically, Meo is liberal and secular. He lives in Jerusalem, married to Maha Khoury and father of Dina and Maya.