In its broadest sense, terrorism is any act designed to cause terror. In a narrower sense, terrorism can be understood to feature a political objective. The word terrorism is politically loaded and emotionally charged.
A broad array of political organizations have practised terrorism to further their objectives. It has been practised by both right-wing and left-wingpolitical parties, nationalist groups, religious groups, revolutionaries, and ruling governments. The symbolism of terrorism can exploit human fear to help achieve these goals.
Origin of term
"Terrorism" comes from the French word terrorisme, and originally referred specifically to state terrorism as practiced by the French government during the 1793–1794 Reign of Terror. The French word terrorisme in turn derives from the Latin verb terrere (e, terreo) meaning "to frighten".The terror cimbricus was a panic and state of emergency in Rome in response to the approach of warriors of the Cimbri tribe in 105 BCE that theJacobins cited as a precedent when imposing the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. After the Jacobins lost power, the word "terrorist" became a term of abuse.
Although "terrorism" originally referred to acts committed by a government, currently it usually refers to the killing of innocent people for political purposes in such a way as to create a spectacle. This meaning can be traced back to Sergey Nechayev, who described himself as a "terrorist".Nechayev founded the Russian terrorist group "People's Retribution" (Народная расправа) in 1869.
In November 2004, a Secretary-General of the United Nations report described terrorism as any act "intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act".