The meaning of “terrorism”

Anyone who saw the terror on the faces of the people fleeing the attacks in Paris last week will agree that terrorism is the right word to describe the barbaric suicide bombings and the shooting of
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Anyone who saw the terror on the faces of the people fleeing the attacks in Paris last week will agree that terrorism is the right word to describe the barbaric suicide bombings and the shooting of civilians that awful Friday night. The term terrorism, though once rare, has become tragically common in the twenty-first century. So it may seem surprising that there’s no legal agreement about what terrorism actually is. The word terrorism first appeared in English in 1795, referring to the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. As Alex P. Schmid notes, in 1793, the revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre and the delegates to the French National Convention had decided that terror through repression and bloodshed was legitimate state policy. By 1794, however, the delegates had begun to fear that Robespierre would turn on them. They accused him of a criminal abuse of power, which they called terrorisme, and they sent him to the guillotine. Thus in late nineteenth-century France,. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Linguistics

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