Protestors in Milan, Italy
Commonly, insurgency is used synonymously with terrorism but there is a key difference; insurgency is a movement whereas terrorism is one possible mechanism to achieve the goals of the movement. In insurgency, the need for terror is not mandated, whereas in terrorism, terror is considered effective in mobilizing support and stirring resistance. Furthermore, insurgencies question the existing government by calling for political compromises and require the support of the general populous. On the other hand, terrorism does not require great support, and it is possible to have a relatively small terrorist group.
The greatest difference is that terrorism does not try to confront the government but instead tries to change the views of the government, whereas insurgency attacks the government directly.
The media has confused these two types of violence by using them synonymously and has thus exaggerated the violence involved with solely terrorism. Thus, it is necessary for the general populous to understand this key difference in order to distinguish those acts that are truly terrorist.