Matter File presents the stories of individual countries to help understand the context behind their current state. It is a journey through history to explore what led to their current geopolitical and socio-economic landscape; because each country is a story worth telling.
Episode 22: Subhash Ghimire on Nepal's Media and Democracy
In this episode, we speak with Mr. Subhash Ghimire, the editor in chief of the daily newspaper Republica Nepal. The conversation covers the political dissatisfaction with the current Oli government in Nepal and their response to the pandemic. It looks at the freedom of the press in Nepal and why Nepal's private news media companies play a vital role in preserving Nepali democracy over and above what the political opposition and judiciary can provide. We also touch on social development in Nepal and why limited infrastructure means the distribution of aid and relief is more ineffective than we'd like to believe.
Episode 21: Zaid Basha on Agriculture and Drainage in Yemen
In this episode, we speak with the management consultant Mr. Zaid Basha. Zaid has authored several papers and been on projects that explore the mismanagement of Yemen's public infrastructure and look at Yemen's public policy reform. In our conversation, we talk about what caused the current famine in Yemen and what steps need to be taken to combat the terrible hunger that is being felt across the country. We also touch on the mismanagement of water resources that have contributed to the famine and the importance of subsistence agriculture in the country. The conversation is a great addition to our growing English audio repository of the current state of Yemen
Episode 20: Maysaa Shuja Al-Deen on the Houthi Movement
In this episode, we speak with Ms Al-Deen who is a non-resident fellow at the Sana'a Centre for strategic studies on the evolution of the Houthi Movement in Yemen. We cover how the Houthi's have impacted the geopolitical state of Yemen today and what their control of Sana'a means for the state apparatus of Yemen. We cover the interaction of the Houthi's with other actors in the conflict including Iran and the Southern Transitional council and gain a better understanding of the demands and motives of the Houthi leadership today. The episode serves as one of the best available primers in English to survey and understand the contemporary Houthi movement.
Episode 19: Andrew MacGregor Marshall on the Thai Monarchy
In this episode, we were delighted to have with us the author of the book A Kingdom in Crisis: Thailand's Struggle for Democracy in the Twenty-First Century, Andrew Marshall. The conversation covers the public reverence and deification of the Thai monarchy and a shift in attitude with the ascension of Rama X. We cover the Lesse Majeste law and look at the interaction of the monarchy with other facets of Thai society including the judiciary and ruling elite. Finally, we speak a bit about the ongoing protests in Thailand to understand public sentiment and the importance of reforming the monarchy in Thailand.
Episode 18: Dr Pramod Jaiswal on Nepal's Foreign Relations
In this incredibly topical episode, we are joined by the research director of NIICE, Nepal, Dr Pramod Jaiswal in discussing Nepal's foreign policy, primarily in regard to its large neighbours in India and China. The conversation covers the history of the disputed Kalapani and Lipulekh regions that have stirred up controversy on the Indo-Nepalese border as well as the Chinese construction in the Humla region of Nepal. We further talk about the Madheshi people, the Gorkha Regiment, Nepal's involvement in the BRI and a possible tripartite alliance between India, China and Nepal and what that would mean for the development of Nepal
Episode 17: Claudio Sopranzetti on Thai Migration and Movements
In this episode, we spoke to Dr. Claudio Sopranzetti, anthropologist and author of the book Owners of the Map: Motorcycle Taxi Drivers, Mobility, and Politics in Bangkok. We cover Thailand's urbanisation and urban migratory patterns and what problems they bring. We also have a very interesting chat about the genealogy of social movements and the role of symbolism and students in the success of movements. We focus on the current Thai protests and the massive divide between conceptions of centre and periphery in Thailand and what the asymmetric development of Bangkok has meant to its political environment today.